In a new pitch targeting Gen Y, South Carolina credit unions this month are using the state’s chapter network to solicit signups for the new Palmetto Protégé program, which provides special rewards to young credit union staffers who most effectively espouse the industry cause.
Finalists for Palmetto Protégé, who must complete a written exam and speak at a chapter assembly meeting, will compete for the top prizes during the annual convention of the South Carolina Credit Union League in Myrtle Beach April 19-21.
The awards program is designed to encourage young professionals to become CU advocates under a setup in which the five league chapters pick regional winners who move on to the state finals in Myrtle Beach.
“The statewide winner will become the state’s spokesperson for the education and opportunities credit unions provide to younger generations,” the league said.
To participate, CU professionals must be between 18 and 30 and complete the Palmetto Protege application and submit it to a local chapter. All participants must also take a standard exam and create for a chapter meeting a five-minute presentation from a range of available topics.
The top three finishers at the state level each have their choice of three available scholarships: to the Southeast CUNA Management School (first year only), an all-expense-paid Hike the Hill trip to Washington, D.C., or the National Youth Involvement Board annual conference in July in New Orleans.
League officials said Palmetto Protégé is modeled after a successful program run by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association for decades called “Youth Ambassador” which focuses on the “high-spirited, commitment-minded younger generation.”
That program also involving league chapters and convention appearances is designed for CU members 17-25 and at one time included crowning of a “Miss Credit Union of Pennsylvania” a name since dropped once the contest was open to both sexes.
The Ambassador program “which has been very successful over the years in drawing youthful attention” to credit unions, said the league, also includes prizes for the winners with the first-place winner getting $1,000 in cash with $750 and $500 prizes for second and third.
Most recently, the PCUA said chapter-level contests for Youth Ambassador were held in September and December with 14 contestants now vying for the state finals in May at the PCUA’s annual convention.