Every day in Austin, we’re working to ensure each child has access to high-quality education, every family has the tools they need to be financially stable, and health and human services are readily available for all.
Getting students thinking about making financial decisions at such a young age can be a challenge, but having knowledgeable and friendly volunteers makes it much easier! “Camp Raven” is UWATX’s free summer enrichment program at Decker Middle School, where each week students learn about an issue affecting their community and complete related educational activities with volunteers. Last week, seven Chase volunteers dedicated a total of 27 hours of their time at Camp Raven, where they led financial literacy games and activities for the campers.
“ I chose to spend the most on food and healthcare because taking good care of my children is the most important thing to me.” — Kevin, 7th grade student
There were two exercises that the children and volunteers participated in, a market simulation exercise and a budgeting exercise. The market simulation exercise was completed using food items such as fruit snacks, mints and juice that had different values. The students were divided into assigned groups and were classified as either buyers or sellers. Sellers had to come up with a price and strategy on how to sell their “products” for the greatest amount of dollars and create ads with the product information. The buyers group made transactions using fake money based on what the advertised prices were. Following the activity, students discussed what they learned in regards to their money making decisions.
The budgeting activity taught the children how to budget their candy “money” by allocating them into realistic categories. Each student based their budgeting decisions on the idea of having a family of four including two children. When asked about his priorities when spending his “money”, seventh grader Kevin exclaimed, “I chose to spend the most on food and healthcare because taking good care of my children is the most important thing to me.”
Having knowledgable volunteers enabled the campers to work in small groups, get sound advice on how to spend their budgets in the activities and created one-on-one relationships with positive role models. In addition, several of the Chase Bank volunteers were Spanish speakers, so ESL campers were able to work on the activities with them and not miss out on the group discussion. By the end of the day, many of the students understood that the purpose of the financial literacy activities and games were to learn and make good money choices now as well as start to think about the future.
We are so thankful for the financial expertise Chase volunteers contributed at Camp Raven. Chase lead volunteer, Melissa Atkinson, spoke of her experience stating, “It was a wonderful experience and privilege to work with the middle school students at Camp Raven. They are some of the most awe-inspiring people I have every met. Interacting with them gave me confidence of a bright future for all of us.”