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National CU Youth Week celebrates 10th anniversary
MADISON, Wis. (4/20/11)--Celebrating its 10th anniversary this week, National Credit Union Youth Week has grown up in its decade of existence. Started in 2002, youth week was initially a byproduct of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) partnership with the National Endowment for Financial Education, according to Phil Heckman, CUNA’s director of product development and delivery. “NEFE really brought financial literacy to the classroom,” explains Joanne Sepich, CUNA’s National Credit Union Youth Week coordinator. “National Credit Union Youth Week brought more kids into the credit union branches.” In 2004, the National Youth Saving Challenge was added to youth week to generate a measurable outcome for both organizers and participants. The first year of the challenge, 143 credit unions took part, with 1,857 new youth accounts opened. Roughly 15,958 kids deposited a total of about $1.4 million, or $87 per child. That compares with 10,385 accounts opened in 2010 at 384 credit unions. About $24.8 million in deposits was received from 168,438 children, $147 per child, last year. In 2005, CUNA recorded 274 credit unions participating, with 4,451 new youth accounts opened. Deposits were made by 35,071 children, who saved about $4.5 million, or $130 per child. In 2006, about 7,624 accounts were opened at 346 credit unions during National Credit Union Youth Week. Also, 66,269 kids saved about $9.6 million, or $145 per child. In 2007, roughly 9,067 accounts were opened at 393 credit unions. About $10.1 million was deposited by 71,844 kids--$141 per child.
Click for slide show For a look at the past 10 years of National Credit Union Youth Week Posters, click on the slide show.
In 2008, 6,748 youth accounts were opened at 400 credit unions during National Credit Union Youth Week. About $12 million was deposited by 76,524 children, or $157 per child. In 2009, National Credit Union Youth Week expanded to include the entire month of April; 397 credit unions participated with 10,006, new youth accounts opened. Deposits were made by 139,669 children, who saved about $26.5 million, or $190 per child. “The really exciting thing is that all these youth accounts will pay dividends for both the credit unions and the children for decades,” Sepich said about the continued growth of the savings challenge. One of the signature elements of the National Credit Union Youth Savings Week is the annual poster that is displayed in credit unions nationwide, inviting kids to celebrate saving. Sepich says the process of choosing a theme becomes more sophisticated each year, with as many as 1,000 volunteers available to offer input. She credits CUNA’s in-house designers for coming up with something compelling each year. “The challenge is coming up with something that kids are in touch with,” Sepich said. “That can change from year to year.” She specifically cites a “green” theme that was floated one year, but didn’t take off with kids. In 2008, “Got Green” was perfect, and was “posterized” as the year’s theme. Check out the slide show of all the years' posters for youth week. As for the future, Sepich said a mentoring program began this year with representatives from credit unions who took part in the celebration by helping those interested in getting started is just gaining traction. “Each year, we try to make it more convenient and flexible for everyone who wants to participate,” she said. “A variety of the leagues play a big role in helping us do that.”


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