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MAKING MOOLA: A 4-H FAIR BOOTCAMP

Dallas Daniels, Megan Mann, and Mia Wilchcombe, UF/ IFAS Extension Lake County, Tavares, FL

Situation: Each year youth sell their market animals at the Lake County Fair, making a profit which provides an opportunity to teach them about finances. Many parents and teachers lack the skills to instruct their children in personal finance. According to the Council for Economic Education, more than 1 in 6 students in the US do not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy. Establishing a program for 4-H youth on financial literacy will educate students on tracking personal expenses, how to build a spending plan, and the benefits of checking/savings account. Youth also need to learn to market their animals and gain skills about the different breeds of livestock and how to showcase their animals during the fair.

Methods: This 8- hour program is for 4-H youth aged 8-13 who will be showing a market animal during fair. The cost of the program was $25 per participant which included lunch. An interdisciplinary approach was used that involved the 4-H, FCS, and Livestock Agent. The Livestock Agent discussed how to set SMART goals, how to market your animal, and provided education and practice regarding skill-a-thon and showmanship. The 4-H Agent taught about the importance of following up with the buyers and how to write a formal thank-you letter. The 4-H Agent secured a banker from a local bank to discuss the importance of saving. The FCS Agent discussed how to track income and expenses, how to create a spending plan, and the importance of saving and giving.

Results: The program was recently offered for the first time on March 16, 2018. A record book was provided with multiple activities related to the objectives of the program. Participants will receive $5 after fair (fair ends April 14, 2018) with the return of the record book. At that time, we can evaluate the effectiveness of the program to see if they were able to create a spending plan based off of their fair earnings. In one year, a follow-up evaluation will be given to see if they were able to save and budget for the next year.

Conclusion: This program provides youth with a hands on learning experience by providing the best financial management practices before, during, and after the fair. The program will aid youth in optimizing fair earnings, gain marketing techniques, and learn financial strategies that will carry them into adulthood.

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