April is National Credit Union Youth Month and one local credit union is taking the opportunity to celebrate all month long.
“As long as I’ve been here, which is six years, we’ve always participated in youth month,” said Evie Tipton, Cascade Community Credit Union’s marketing coordinator. “It’s something that we like to do because we like to highlight children in the area, that is definitely a focus for us, supporting the youth and children in the Douglas County community that we serve.”
According to Tipton, National Credit Union Youth Month is organized by the Credit Union National Association, which provides a yearly theme and promotional materials for any credit union in the United States that is interested in participating.
During April, Cascade will deposit $5 into any new youth account, as opposed to the $1 it normally provides new accounts. Younger children will be able to choose a toy from the treasure chest when they make deposits and new members may also receive a piggy bank.
Cascade is also hosting a social media contest. Anyone 17 or younger can post a photo or video showing what they are saving for and post it on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #CCCUYouthMonth. Cascade must also be tagged for entries to be eligible for a chance to win a $10 and $20 gift cards. Six winners will be chosen, two from age groups 0-7, 8-12 and 13-17.
“We want to start them as young as possible with getting familiar with financial education and different things to do with money so that it isn’t such an abstract concept to them,” Tipton said. “That it is something real and something that they need to start understanding at a young age so they can have more successful habits as they become an adult.”
Cascade’s interim CEO Lynn Calvert said National Credit Union Youth Month is a highlight of what the credit union does throughout the year.
“We participate in going out and doing some education at the high school, as well as donating checkbooks and registers so that the classes can teach financial education — how to write a check, how to balance a checkbook, things like that, how to save and what interest means,” Calvert said.
Tipton encouraged parents to start the money conversation by asking their kids what their dreams and goals are for the future and figuring out what they will need to save for.
“Writing down those goals, or creating maybe a vision board or something along those lines, those kind of cement the possibility or increase the success rate of them actually being able to achieve those goals,” she said.
Along with life goals, Tipton said having a general conversation about money is also important. She suggested talking about the household budget and helping a child understand where money comes from, so they can become aware of how money is earned and spent.
“I think for a young kid it’s very visual, right, starting with a piggy bank. That’s actually one of the things that we are giving away this month is a piggy bank,” Calvert said. “Start with that visual, where they can fill up a piggy bank and then come into the credit union and have them see how that is adding up; those pennies turn into nickels, turn into dimes. And I think for the younger students, it’s talking about that visual and what that money adds up to.”
Cascade has three options for anyone under 18 years old. A standard youth account can be opened as soon as a social security card is received and requires only the child’s name, date of birth, social security number and address. Cascade does require most youth accounts to also have an adult listed.
An Oregon Uniform Transfers to Minors Act account is not in the youths name. It is similar to a trust, opened by an adult and only accessible by the person who opened it. Tipton said that it is a way for an adult to set up an account for a child, but the child will not have access to that account until the time specified by the adult.
Lastly, parents and guardians have the option of adding a separate savings accounts to their personal accounts.
“Anything that we can do to educate and set our youth up for success for the future is something that is important to us,” Tipton said.