One of CUNA’s long-running vehicles to reach Gen Y, the online-linked education program called Googolplex, is gaining new ground this summer with heightened interest among young people and their credit union mentors in signing up for the Youth Editorial Board, the trade group said.
CUNA managers of the subscription-based Googolplex interactive game aimed at elementary, middle and high schoolers claimed this week the numbers of youthful applicants have risen markedly to serve on the paid board.
“Every year since the inception of Googolplex in 2001, we’ve seen the list of applicants grow and this year more than 150 people have applied for the 12 positions,” said Rena Crispin, who serves as managing editor of two CUNA online products: the onlineEDGE publications, and PlanIt for pre-retirees.
Many of the past members of the Youth Editorial Boards under Googolplex, said Crispin, are now seeing their younger siblings joining the boards or becoming classroom teachers.
“Board membership is a fantastic way for kids to learn about money while also having fun and getting paid for their time and effort,” Crispin said. “Youth who participate in the Googolplex editorial board gain numerous benefits, including payment, experience, mentorship in writing consumer-related articles, and opportunities to play credit-union friendly online games.”
Board membership, she said, requires a one-year commitment that starts June 1. Payment is based on age level anywhere from $220 for elementary students to $600 for teens. No travel is required, with CUNA welcoming applicants from all over the country. In a departure this year, one member of the board lives on a military base in Japan.
Since youngsters are not seen as likely to be much interested in serving on an industry “board,” CUNA has branded the panels as the “Clubhouse Crew” for elementary students and the “C-note” group for teens.
CUNA staffers including a college intern work with the board members by phone and by e-mail as they write Googolplex critiques and stories each month.
“At the end of their terms, each of the 12 board members is guided through the process of writing an original story for Googolplex,” said Crispin. .
“Peer-to-peer sharing is what the younger generation is all about,” she said. “We rely on the feedback we receive every week from our youth editorial board members. We use it to develop financial literacy tools that speak directly to children and young adults.”
She concluded, “Our youth board is a vital part of providing financial education at a young age.”