4-H Smart Money Contests for youth pay off

Youth can win prizes and gain financial awareness with these Smart Money Contests.

Promotional graphic that says 4-H Smart Money Contest for Youth; win prizes, increase your money smarts and compete with your friends.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and in celebration, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has been offering Smart Money Contests since 2019. In April, Michigan youth can win prizes by competing in the Cash Composition Contest or the Show Your Money Smarts Contest with different financial themes each year. These Smart Money Contests are not only a great opportunity for Michigan youth to win prizes, but also a fun way to learn about financial topics.

“This opportunity has been beneficial to me in many ways, including learning from research and working on my writing skills,” said Harper-Jane, a past Smart Money Cash Composition Contest winner who also served as a 4-H Money Smart Youth Ambassador, a leadership program for young people interested in sharing their financial knowledge with their peers. “I have enjoyed and acquired knowledge from every step in this wonderful experience. I am grateful to partake in the varied opportunities offered by 4-H.”

If you are looking for an activity for your club, troop or classroom that integrates writing with financial literacy, consider the Cash Composition Contest. Any Michigan youth between the ages of 9 and 12 (as of Jan. 1, 2023) can participate by writing a 300-word (or less) essay on the topic of needs and wants. Five finalists will each receive a $100 gift card through the generous sponsorship of Extra Credit Union

Any Michigan youth between the ages of 13 and 19 (as of Jan. 1, 2023) can participate in the Show Your Money Smarts Contest, generously sponsored by Michigan Credit Union Foundation. In this annual contest, teens will compete in a 30-question online quiz challenge about credit. Ten high scoring youth will be awarded a $25 gift card. Teachers, librarians and other youth development professionals also can win a $25 gift card if a non-related youth they refer to in the contest wins. Youth are encouraged to explore the many educational opportunities provided by MSU Extension around credit to better prepare for the contest.

In addition to these contests, MSU Extension has a variety of youth money management programs offered throughout the year, both in person as well as virtually. Most recently, through a grant from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairsten online courses were developed specifically for teens. These free classes utilize Nearpod, an interactive platform that features polling, question boards, videos, matching pairs, and other tools to make learning fun. Through the online classes, teens can explore topics such as avoiding money mishaps, investing and riskbudgetingcreditkeeping out of debt and more, whenever it is convenient for them.  

These programs meet a need for young people as it is not uncommon for youth to have financial concerns for their future. According to a recent survey by Junior Achievement, some of young people’s top concerns included paying for college (47%), not being able to afford to live on their own (45%), paying taxes (43%) and finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (40%). By participating in these contests and programs, youth will learn about saving, credit and how to become financially fit for the future.

For more information, please contact Kathy Jamieson at jamies13@msu.edu or Laurie Rivetto at rivettoL@msu.edu.

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