Northwest Credit Unions ‘Catch the $ave Wave’ During an Extraordinary National Credit Union Youth Week

If credit unions do amazing things every day to bring financial education and resources to their members, do they really need a National Credit Union Youth Week?

Gigi Hyland thinks so.

“You need to be telling the world about all the amazing financial literacy work you do,” the executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation says. “Why? Because leveraging credit unions’ financial education outreach is an ideal way to build awareness and reach potential members, lawmakers and the community. It’s also a key way to let consumers know that credit unions are an option — the best option — to help them with their financial needs.”

Too often, Hyland says, credit unions carry on the work of financial education quietly and without much fanfare, because, well, “It’s what we do.” But the truth is that we do it well, and last week’s celebration of young savers and their families was a chance to shine a spotlight on that fact.

So cue the trumpets and unfurl the banners, because it was an extraordinary week:

  • Every young member who opened a new uSavers account or deposited $25 or more into an existing account at Unitus Community Credit Union was entered into a drawing for a Family Fun Beach Getaway. The package included an annual family pass to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and a $300 Unitus Visa Gift Card to create the perfect getaway. Unitus also held free community events at all eight of its branches, with giveaways, prizes and refreshments. And the credit union didn’t forget parents: On Facebook, moms and dads could enter to win a copy of financial expert Clark Howard’s new book, “Clark Smart Parents, Clark Smart Kids -Teaching Kids of Every Age the Value of Money.”
  • Cool “Beach Guys” made from balloons greeted youngsters at all eight of Fibre Federal’s branches, where coloring-contest entries covered the walls (Staff held their own coloring contest, too!) and $ave Wave messages filled lobby screens and reader boards. Kids who deposited $10 or more into their Smart Start Account earned a chance to win $1,000 in prizes, including a $500 gift card to Great Wolf Lodge.
  • Teaching teen-agers about financial responsibility can be overwhelming, so where do parents start? And what financial habits should they avoid as they try to set a good example for their children? iQ Credit Union answered those questions and more during a week of “No Monkey Business” that also included a chance to win a copy of The Money Smart Family System.
  • Young savers who opened a new account or added to an existing account at Lower Valley Credit Union earned a chance to win a Kindle Fire or Leap Pad 2.
  • Lighthouse Community Credit Union sponsored a coloring contest and other fun events, but the credit union’s celebration had a serious side, too. Every day, Lighthouse Community posted a “Catch the $ave Wave” tip on social media, offering advice on how to teach younger children about what everyday items cost , how to “re-examine the rules” and set spending limits for teens, what to consider when deciding whether to pay an allowance, and more.
  • Girl Scouts dressed up in their finest “Catch the $ave Wave” attire for a visit to Oregon Community Credit Union’s downtown Eugene branch.

    Girl Scouts dressed up in their finest “Catch the $ave Wave” attire for a visit to Oregon Community Credit Union’s downtown Eugene branch. Each of the credit union’s branches was decked out for this year’s beach theme, and young savers earned a chance to win $100 through the National Youth Savings Challenge.

  • Oregon Pioneer Federal Credit Union set its members on the road to a better financial future with a cool road map for families to teach their kids about financial responsibility.
  • During YOUth Month at Qualstar Credit Union, young members who opened new Youth Accounts received matching deposits up to $25. Online, kids could find a variety of resources, cool links and downloadable activities and handouts; inside branches, photos taken at “selfie stations” and uploaded to Facebook earned $5 donations to Boys & Girls Clubs.
  • Rivermark Community Credit Union asked parents how they motivate kids to save money, and then rewarded one random respondent with a $25 iTunes gift card. Some families said they use their piggy banks and “save, save, save.” Others took advantage of Rivermark’s Dollar Dog or Go! Savings accounts. And others said they tried to set a good example by “not living outside of our means … and talking about it!”
  • Members under the age of 18 who opened a savings account or added to their existing account at Rogue Credit Union not only won a prize on the spot, but also were entered for a chance to win a free paddleboard lesson for themselves and a friend.
  • Younger members who entered SELCO Community Credit Union’s Safari Savers Coloring Contest went home with a variety of prizes and teens got a chance to win $100 in cash. There were lots more giveaways throughout the week, too.
  • In honor of Youth Week, Spokane Federal Credit Union asked its “experts” to share their experiences on Facebook. Cora, a member since 2002, told members about her “Tour de College,” and Jesse, an SFCU teller, offered his best advice for people who want to learn more about money. Lots of good advice on the College Cents and MomCents blogs, too. And the credit union also sent member service representatives out into the community to spread the word about the importance of saving at an early age.
  • Loan Center staff at SELCO Community Credit Union tried their hand at coloring Safari Savers pages, but only young members went home with prizes.

    Buddy Bear deposited $1 into youngsters’ accounts when they opened their new accounts at St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union. Buddy also handed out ice cream and hugs, and the kids went home with Cub Club boxes filled with a piggy bank and lots of goodies.

  • Verity Credit Union gave away growth charts, “money plant” seed packets and more throughout the week. The credit union also offered to reimburse families up to $40 for extracurricular activities like sports, after-school classes and lessons when teens opened a C-Note account. And Verity Mom offered lots of great advice for families in her online blog, too.
  • Wauna Credit Union deposited the first $25 into Jump Start Club accounts for its new young savers, and every new club member was entered into a drawing for $250. The credit union also entertained its members with online links to fun videos by The Disclosures that helped explain why credit unions are WAY BETTER than banks.
  • Woodstone Credit Union covered money-management topics like budgeting, investing, credit, and ID theft in a special series of free Financial Skills for Life classes for high school students.
  • WSECU held Youth Week celebrations in all of its branches, with fun activities, refreshments and gifts for kids who opened accounts. Special flip-flops, coloring pages, savings contests and lots of great information awaited youngsters at OnPoint Community Credit Union. Central Willamette Community Credit Union invited young members to come in for cookies, conversation and a coloring contest. And Cheney Federal Credit Union had a coloring contest and lots of other fun activities, too.
  • Young Clakamites found yummy treats, cool prizes and balloons waiting at Clackamas Federal Credit Union. There were fun giveaways and great information about the Planet M and Student Trak accounts at Numerica Credit Union. And the winner of Red Canoe Credit Union’s coloring contest won $20!

Not on the list? Send us an email and tell us how your credit union celebrated National Credit Union Youth Week!

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216,

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