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TOPEKA, Kan. – With support from the Kansas Credit Union Association, State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins is fulfilling a long-standing personal goal next month of energizing the financial community into improving financial literacy among Kansas youth. “You know I shouted from the mountaintops for financial institutions to help me out and it was the credit unions who came through,” declared the treasurer, who long has pushed the idea of both a summer “financial literacy” camp for teens as well as a hard-hitting financial education program starting in elementary schools. The first goal of opening an unusual “Money Smart Financial Camp” becomes a reality Aug. 22-23 when some 125 campers take part in a weekend of financial study “plus horseback riding, swimming and outdoor activities” at a 4-H facility near Junction City. The camp, which is being supported by $15,000 in donations from Kansas CUs with League coordination, is aimed at building teen interest in subjects like creating a budget, calculating loan rates and “establishing financial goals.” – all of it interspersed with recreational activities. Jenkins has said that given her interest in economics as a youngster she would have enjoyed going to a camp with an emphasis on such topics. Her other goal – coinciding with a 2003 Kansas law mandating financial curriculum in the schools – has been to push financial education courses in the elementary schools. On that score, three Kansas CUs have already volunteered to offer courses with two of the CUs setting up mini-CU operations in Manhattan and Topeka schools. Participating in that part of the program are: Kansas State FCU of Manhattan; Educational CU of Topeka and Kansas University CU of Lawrence, which is a branch./division of 66 Federal CU in Bartlesville, Okla. In supporting the Jenkins program, the KCUA leadership has maintained that raising funds for the Junction City camp and encouraging deposit taking and account opening in the schools fits nicely into marketing campaigns to induce future membership. It also has appeal to the parents of the youngsters.. Moreover, the League said the Jenkins program “meshes very well with the underlying principles of promoting thrift and education.” Spearheading the effort on behalf of the League has been Kansas State FCU of Manhattan which has agreed to be the “pilot” CU in running a school-based CU as well as offering the literacy curriculum starting Oct. 5 at a Manhattan elementary school. “We’re glad we’ve been able to partner with Lynn on this kind of initiative,” said Vickie Hurt, president/CEO of K-State FCU and also chairman of the Kansas CUA. Apart from helping with the distribution of money management textbooks and guiding teachers on the curriculum set by the Kansas Board of Education, K-State FCU is also “hiring” student managers, tellers and marketers to handle CU business at the school. Accounts will be opened and deposits taken among the youngsters. “Students will have to go through interviews to get the jobs,” said Hurt, who has been widely praised by the treasurer, Jenkins, for her enthusiastic support of the venture known as Save@School. “I’d like to thank for Vickie Hurt’s good work and others in the Kansas League for their support in coming forward to pilot this program,” said Jenkins. She said Kansas banks had shown interest in the project, but it was the KCUA which got the ball rolling with a spokesman noting “now community banks want to get on board.” Once the pilot is complete during this school year in Manhattan, Jenkins said the plan is to expand Save@School to other schools across the state with CUs helping out. Gavin Wittman, president/CEO of Educational in Topeka , said his CU has been working closely with school officials on getting the curriculum approved so the program can start at the Jay Schiedler Elementary School for a 12-week course. In addition to classroom teaching on finance, Wittman said the plan is for students to open accounts and make deposits in addition to making field trips to Educational’s Topeka offices. “We understand there are 25 in a classroom, so we plan to have them tour the vaults and the teller lines,’ said Wittman. The entire program, “is a win-win situation” for the schools, and the CU’s, he said, noting that “we are able to get our names before the children for their future and for the parents.” -

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