14 May 2009

Credit Union Cookies?

In Reader's Digest's June 2009 publication, a little blurb in the "Hello/Goodbye" section caught my eye. It seems that the Girl Scouts are battling declining membership (an 8% decrease since 1999). To rebrand the organization into one that will be more attractive to modern girls, they plan on de-emphasizing badges, stuffy textbook-based learning, and having moms as troop leaders in favor of focusing on web-based learning, computer literacy, the environment, engineering, and...wait for it...financial literacy.

I've always thought that credit unions should be THE force behind mandating financial literacy courses and standardized testing. I've also argued that credit unions should prepare, teach, and pay for the educational content.

But lookie what we have here! If the Girl Scouts are correct that financial literacy education can help them reverse their membership trends, maybe this is a more manageable first step? Studies show that women are typically their household's CFO, so why not reach out to the future CFO's through the Girl Scouts? Clearly this won't entirely solve America's overall lack of financial literacy education, but it would be one heckuva start.

Plus, I love Caramel Delights...

and Thin Mints...


lori newton said...

I definitely think you're onto something here Matt! Provide financial guidance to them while they're young and eager to learn, and they'll be with you forever, including their offspring. But tell me more about those caramel delights? The girl guides don't have those in Canada :(

Caleb Chang said...

Though I love the whimsy of the headline, I also think you've hit on a very important point.

I've learned through Rotary, that some of the non-profits organizations that are helping third world communities are shifting their efforts from the young men to the young women. These organizations are finding that it's the women who tend to be more family & community-focused, so if you provide them with health, sex and business education, their communities will benefit.

I believe CUs should take a stand and fund financial literacy - why not start with Girl Scouts?

p.s. I think Thin Mint CU cookies would be killer.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Lori They used to be called Samoas...freakin' heaven on earth! Shortbread covered with caramel, fudge, and coconut.

We shouldn't understate that Girl Scouts is an opt-in group...those girls theoretically want to be there. Very nice opportunity to make a difference.

@Caleb I half kid about cookies, but I truly see a valuable partnership here. Heck, many credit unions already allow Girl Scouts to sell cookies in their lobbies. This is a tremendously important segment of our population, and a vitally important mission for credit unions. Maybe picking a partner would help us focus our efforts?

BenJoe said...

I was eating some girl scout thin mints when this popped up on twitter. So of course I had to read. I think you are right on the money with this.

Monica said...

Like BenJoe, I myself just finished a GS Cookie - a Samoa (or newly renamed caramel delight).

Actually, my CU had the Girl Scouts come to us to do an 8-week program at a local school for the girls who couldn't be in a "typical" troop. Like you said, they are trying to reach out to girls who's parents may no have time to take them to meetings each week, and instead let them participate as a Girl Scout in an after school activity.

I'd like to see how their new model plays out. I was a Girl Scout myself, and I think I learned a lot from it. Now if they had had financial education mixed in there, I think it would have added an extra value to the program. Everyone needs to know how to manage money - even if it's just a few dollars!