MADISON, Wis. (4/9/14)--Interactive reality fairs are not only effective ways to introduce financial education to students, they also are great ways for credit unions to get media coverage for their financial education efforts.
April's National Financial Literacy Month is a popular tie-in for credit unions to highlight their reality fairs to the community.
Nicole Craw prepares to spin the "Wheel of Reality" during Sikorsky Financial CU's Financial Reality Fair at Stratford (Conn.) High School. The $675 million-asset credit union is holding a number of life and budget simulations throughout the spring. (Sikorsky Financial CU photo)
The New Hampshire Union Leader covered the New Hampshire Credit Union League's CU 4 Reality Fair at America's Credit Union Museum (April 7). Students from Souhegan High School, Amherst, N.H., picked their career of choice and worked with a presumed salary for each occupation. They then created a budget to account for food, rent, transportation and, maybe, a pet.
Participants quickly came to the realization that "everything costs a lot of money," as freshman Chris Day told the Union Leader.
About 150 eighth-grade students at Thomas Wallace Middle School, Vineland, N.J., had their Financial Reality Fair experiences captured by The Daily Journal. Teens' swipe-and-pay spending pattern means they need to think about the long-range ramifications of their decisions, Bay Atlantic FCU President/CEO Gail Marino told the paper (March 31).
Muscatine (Iowa) High School students took part in a Mad City Money simulation, sponsored by $49 million-asset Members Community CU. Credit union employees, including CEO Tim Chapman as car salesman, staffed different life stages for the students--housing, transportation, family.
Students at Norwin Area High School, North Huntingdon, Pa., have their budgets reviewed during Norwin Teachers FCU's Reality Fair last week. (Pennsylvania Credit Union Association photo)
Even the best budget could be busted by the "fickle finger of fate"--such as an unexpected $285 expense--or temptation dangled by the Mad City Mall and Fun Station. Eighteen-year-old Tanner Howell said he was challenged by how to treat his fictional spouse. "Your first thought is to be cheap, but you don't wanna go cheap because if you have a wife, you want to treat her right," he told the Muscatine Journal (April 7).
Last week, $22 million-asset Norwin Teachers FCU, Irwin, Pa., held a Reality Fair for 125 students at Norwin Area High School (Life is a Highway April 8). It was the third Reality Fair coordinated through the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation this year. Local businesses and Norwin Teachers FCU; Lesco FCU, Latrobe, $62 million in assets; and Westmoreland Community FCU, Greenburg, $54 million in assets, provided volunteers for the event. Norwin Teachers FCU encouraged participating students to open accounts at the school's branch.