MADISON, Wis. (4/15/11)--There might be a few rock stars hanging out in credit unions next week. Credit unions have spent several months preparing for National Credit Union Youth Week, with this year's theme, "Money Rocks at My Credit Union." The week begins Sunday and ends Saturday, April 23.
Youth Week, the Credit Union National Association's nationwide effort to educate young people about the importance of being financially savvy, is a focal point for many credit unions' efforts during National Financial Literacy Month. At the center is CUNA's National Youth Saving Challenge, where credit unions track deposits and new accounts by youth during the month as an effort to get kids into the habit of saving. Here's what a few credit unions are planning:
* The staff at EDTECH FCU, Butte, Mont., will dress as rock stars during the week. "We celebrate Youth Week every year by organizing a Youth Day celebration--it's become one of our favorite get-togethers," said Judy Kiely, who added "the staff has as much fun as the kids--if not more." The celebration focuses on Cubby Club members under age 13. The credit union will provide giveaways, activities and food--pizza, breadsticks and root beer floats served in mood cups. Each Cubby will receive a goodie bag with a microphone, a coin coolie pouch, temporary tattoos, rock 'n' roll stickers, silly band bracelets, a magnetic bookmark, a mood pencil, a coin saver folder, and an inflatable guitar. Activities include four stations: a TV with "Guitar Hero," a table with a "bank" to color and assemble for saving, a TV with "Just Dance" for Wii, and a temporary tattoo station. If a Cubby member brings along a new Cubby, each will receive five gold dollar coins. * Security Service CU, San Antonio, and its branch at Clark High School have students taking a savings pledge during Financial Literacy Month. School staff, teachers and administration also are signing pledge cards. "Everyone who signs up gets a small reward--a coin purse, a calculator or silly pen," says Letha Harrelson, who directs Security Service's education program, told the Texas Credit Union League (LoneStar Leaguer April 14). "But more importantly, they are taking important steps toward saving for the future. We want to encourage thrift, and we want to encourage financial responsibility." * Redwood CU (RCU), Santa Rosa, Calif., will conduct free educational seminars for families on saving and money management on Tuesday at three locations. It also will host a coloring contest for kids under 12, and a $100 Youth Savings Challenge for any RCU youth account holders who make a deposit into their savings account during the week. , plus contests, and provide handouts. "Engaging kids and teens with fun activities like Youth Week is the first step in helping them develop responsible money habits at an early age, which will benefit them for a lifetime," said Lee Alderman, assistant vice president of educational development at Redwood. * Ticonderoga (N.Y.) CU reports it will have financial education materials covering age groups from pre-school to high school on hand in its Ticonderoga, Port Henry and Elizabethtown branches and on its website. Any member under age 18 can enter for a chance to win one of three $50 U.S. Savings Bonds and $100. Ten youth members from credit union nationwide will each win $100. A deposit isn't required to enter. * Marshall (Mich.) Community CU's annual Kids Day tomorrow will feature a Guitar Hero competition, music trivia on the Wheel of Fun, face painting and AAA providing bike helmet fittings/giveaways. "We will be giving away balloons and popcorn to members who come in on Kids Day," said Andrea Tucker, youth/marketing representative. Participants age 18 or younger will earn a ticket for a prize drawing. Prizes include a $50 Savings Bond; tickets for baseball, a water park, the children's museum, the zoo, and Paper Jamz (guitar, drum set and amplifier). Kids making deposits into youth accounts will also earn a ticket for drawings. Also, "we are participating in the National Savings Challenge and will be tracking our progress on a large goal chart that will be located in the lobby of our main office." To market the events, the credit union decorated its lobby with inflatable guitars, provided guitar-shaped gift bags and sunglasses, and featured Youth Week information on its lobby PowerPoints, its website, its newsletter and Facebook. * Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif., said that all new youth accounts opened during the week will receive $5 from the credit union, which will enter them into the Youth Week Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of these prizes: Grand Prize, iPad 2, second prize, iPod touch; third prize, Sea World Family Four-Pack Playcation; and extra chances to win $25 iTunes gift cards. * Altana FCU, Billings, Mont., plans to track youth deposits and new accounts the entire month. "We have a table display in our lobby with educational materials, candy, Brass Magazine, popcorn and coloring pages," said Andrea Vashus, marketing assistant. Each deposit is entered into one of three drawings: for ages up through five years, the prize is a Fischer Price Sing and Play Guitar; for those ages 6-11, Paper Jamz Guitar and Amp Set; for those 12 and older, a DVD of "Glee's" Season 1. Altana also is hosting a "Rockin' Out" photo contest through the end of June, with the winner receiving a $100 gift card, and is teaming up with a local elementary school to provide free activity sheets for the entire student body.