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WICHITA, Kan. – Among her peers, Kansas Treasurer Lynn Jenkins does not hide the fact she is a vocal financial literacy advocate. She has now won the backing of the Kansas Credit Union Association for an unusual summer camp next year devoted to “financial management” for teens. “I know this may be a foreign idea to other state treasurers, but if we have cheerleading camps, basketball and space camps, why not go ahead and have one that is fun for kids but concentrates on finance and economics,” said Jenkins in seeking CU funding for a weekend camp next fall at a 4-H facility in Rock Springs. At a Nov. 12 meeting of the KCUA Board, the trade group supported Jenkins’ idea but stipulated that individual CUs work with the treasurer’s office on a voluntary basis to pay expenses of interested and/or deserving youngsters who participate. Jenkins said she decided to involve CUs in the “Kansas Youth Financial Management Summer Camp” because she knew of work being done by the League and CUs in improving financial literacy in the state. Jenkins, who said as a youngster she was interested in economics and would have enjoyed going to a camp with an emphasis on the subject, said the camp at Rock Springs will also have horseback riding, swimming and other outdoor sports in addition to the study of “handling finances.” Apart from the camp, the Kansas treasurer a week earlier presented her ideas to the KCUA Board on a separate proposal to have more student-run CU institutions in Kansas schools. That program, called “Bank at School,” is a partnership among financial institutions, elementary schools and Jenkins’ office to teach children the fundamentals of money management. “Bank at School” is aimed at opening in-school institutions with one already launched at a Lawrence elementary school and run by Free State Credit Union. Under Bank at School, children open savings accounts and make deposits to their accounts with the help and guidance of an employee from the sponsoring financial institution. Joining Jenkins at the KCUA meeting was Esther Maddux, a Kansas State University professor of financial planning who heads up the “Kansas Saves” program administered by the college’s Cooperative Extension Service. Kansas Saves, which has active CU participation, is also designed to encourage individual savings and “the building of wealth.” Regarding the Rock Springs camp, Jenkins said the ranch facility, located near Junction City in northeast Kansas, would be geared toward junior high students and be held over a three-day weekend starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. By integrating activities such as hiking and swimming with financial management, the camp would hope to develop interest in personal financial knowledge and foster an understanding of how financial situations impact individual futures and society as a whole, said Jenkins. -

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