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DALLAS – About 80 movers and shakers of the credit union movement were spotted at a local pool hall recently. Their games weren’t that great, so what were they doing there? The freshman class of Southwest CUNA Management School held a 9-Ball Billiard Mixer, called Great Balls of Fire, which raised $13,500 for the Texas Credit Union Foundation. The SCMS class envisions the funds being used to pay SCMS tuition for employees from small credit unions. “Most small credit unions do not have the funds to provide educational opportunities for their staff,” said SCMS freshman class president Dave Selsky. “The Texas Credit Union Foundation can offer scholarships so their employees can take Southwest CUNA Management School classes to make them better credit union professionals.” SCMS, an educational program that develops and enhances management skills, is open, but not limited, to League-affiliated credit unions in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. SCMS students paid $25 to attend the “mandatory” mixer, which covered the evening’s expenses (food, t-shirts, transportation, etc.), but vendors sponsored tables in exchange for the opportunity to play pool and network with credit union professionals for 2-1/2 hours. Twelve vendors sponsored $1,000 tables; six more paid $500 each to have their name listed on the back of event t-shirts, but their contribution amount did not earn them the privilege to attend. Selsky recruited volunteers from his credit union, Advancial Federal Credit Union, to manage the “non-competitive” event. Roles included taking down scores, handing out t-shirts, answering questions, and making sure everybody had fun. “We’ve raised more money in six months than any other class,” Selsky said. “Our main goal was to start a trend that other SCMS classes can use to raise record amounts of money in cooperation with vendors. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s a good networking opportunity and it makes a lot of money.”

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