First Nations Development Institute held its 19th Annual Leadership and Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship Development (L.E.A.D.) Conference at the Tulalip Resort Casino on Sept. 24-26 this year. Over 175 participants came to learn more about a range of topics related to economic development on Indian reservations. One conference track was dedicated to Youth Development and featured many innovative youth programs that support youth employment, education and financial empowerment.
On Friday, Sept. 26, financial educator Shawn Spruce conducted a “Spending Frenzy” training workshop that was designed to help tribal colleges, CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions), internship programs, and Boys and Girls Clubs offer financial education programs.
The Spending Frenzy is designed for youth and provides participants with a pile of play money and lets them go on a spending frenzy where they can make a series of financial decisions related to buying a car, buying a home, and paying for life’s expenses. Participants travel between stations where they are asked to make a payment using the play money and record that payment in a ledger. The goal is to finish the workshop with all the bills paid and some money left over. The first stop is at the Big Money Bank, but people are often disappointed when they learn they also have to visit the IRS and pay taxes on their income.
“People have been asking us to offer a training so they can learn how to conduct this workshop in their home community,” said Shawn, who is a financial educator and a First Nations consultnt. “There is a lot of demand for financial education that is interactive, fun and relevant to the lives of Native youth. Kids love to learn in a hands-on setting, and the Spending Frenzy offers that.”
More than 30 practitioners from programs across North America participated in the training. Staff from First Nations and Chief Dull Knife College helped work at the stations and conduct the workshop.
“We are honored that so many people are interested in this interactive financial education program,” said Sarah Dewees, senior director of research, policy and asset-building programs at First Nations. “We look forward to hearing more about how our partners implement this program in their home communities.”