West Virginia University Extension financial experts will teach children the importance of financial responsibility in a series of mini-camps held throughout the next month.

The one-day West Virginia Youth Financial Mini-Camps are open to all students from seventh grade to tenth grade. The camps invite students to enter the “Future Millionaires’ Club” by learning how to wisely handle money even at a young age.

Locations, dates and times of the camps are:

Charleston – Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Coonskin Clubhouse, Kanawha Parks & Recreation

Beckley – Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Beckley-Raleigh at the County Civic Center

Huntington – Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Cabell County 4-H Camp in Barboursville

Ron Hatfield, a WVU Extension family financial management specialist and one of the coordinators of the mini-camps, said students are encouraged to learn though games and discussion.

“We keep the boot camps very fluid,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll introduce a topic and just let students go with it so they can learn from cross-conversations.”

In addition to talking in groups about financial responsibility, campers will also get a chance to participate in a live-action “Get a Life” game; play a computer game called Financial Football; and learn lessons from author Patti Handy’s book, How to Ditch Your Allowance and Be Richer Than Your Parents!

Hatfield hopes to educate students about saving money over the course of a lifetime.

“The camp is designed to instill the idea into teens that being a millionaire is not a far-fetched idea,” he said. “Really, it’s a necessity with retirement.”

Participants will be encouraged to think ahead about topics like reducing debt and spending less than they make at a job. WVU Extension specialists will be on-hand to teach students lessons and advice on earning, spending, saving, borrowing and protecting against risk.

Hatfield said introducing good ideas about these topics early in a person’s life may help them avoid financial trouble later on.

“It’s important to develop positive financial habits early on, because it’s easier to learn early than to quit a negative habit later on,” he said.

The mini-camp program is an addition to WVU Extension’s NetWorth Academy, a statewide program that incorporates financial lessons into students’ math curriculum in schools. That initiative, as well as the mini-camps offered by WVU Extension, is a result of a partnership with the West Virginia Treasurer’s Office and the West Virginia Department of Education.

WVU Extension will also offer a financial track as part of some 4-H camps this summer.

For more information on the camp, to register or to see a list of camp dates, visit www.hfhc.ext.wvu.edu/networth_academy.

For more information on all WVU Extension programs, visit www.ext.wvu.edu.



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Ann Bailey Berry, WVU Extension
Office: 304-293-5691; Cell: 304-376-7740