Success Keeps Adding Up!  A Record 6,904 Students Participate in Maine CU Financial Fitness Fair During 2015-2016 School Year

August 1, 2016

With new schools and more students encouraged to participate, the 2015/16 Financial Fitness - Money Management Experience events reached a new record in the number of students participating.  In just-released figures from the Maine Credit Union League, which tracks all fairs and number of students, a total of 6,904 students participated in one of the thirty-five or so fairs that took place during the past school year.  In addition, a first-ever Fair was held for legislators to experience and discuss what the fairs are all about as part of Maine CU Day at the State House in March.

"The feedback and engagement from students, educators and others involved in one of the fairs coordinated by Maine's credit unions was not only overwhelmingly positive but reached new heights.  Students clearly appreciate the value of the fairs, which is great to see.  Understanding finances and money management is so important especially as teenagers transition into adults," explained Jon Paradise, Vice President of the Maine Credit Union League.

Paradise said comments from fairs reinforced the learning that is taking place and the thoughts and discussions that kids are having to consider as a result.  Comments such as, "The cost of living is higher than I thought.  My salary was really low so I got insight into how many sacrifices people in this situation have to make," and, "It's really scary thinking about having enough money to pay bills and get ahead.  This fair caused me to re-evaluate what I am going to do in college," are indicative of what students are thinking.

With the new school year less than a month away for most school districts, planning for the upcoming year has begun.  "Credit unions and Chapters have begun planning and scheduling fairs for the 2016/17 school year, and are continuing to look for ways to enhance the process.  Some are adding a greater emphasis on credit scores, while others are streamlining some of the expenses to give students more time at other booths.  The level of cooperation and commitment that credit unions have in helping the number of fairs and the number of participants grow each year is impressive.  Hopefully, the year ahead produces similar outcomes.  Additionally, we look forward to adding an online Financial Fitness component, which is not intended to replace in-person fairs, but to provide another tool prior to or after an in-person fair.  Perhaps, in areas where there is only one credit union, the online Fair may be utilized to let a school experience a fair without a credit union having to commit resources to one," added Paradise.

Created by the Maine Credit Union League in 2004, the Financial Fitness - Money Management Experience has received numerous awards and accolades from students, educators and legislators.  In 12 years, more than 38,000 Maine students and individuals have participated in one of the more than 200 fairs that have taken in that time.