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Memory is a tricky thing. It’s easy to remember what you had for dinner the night before, not as easy to remember where you were at 2:00pm last Thursday. But one thing is for certain: moments that have a profound impact on your life tend to stick with you for years to come.
When UPENN Wharton MBA candidate Stephanie Siepman thought back to the experiences that shaped her current path, she immediately thought of the Young AmeriTowne summer camp she did at age 10. She remembered her job: she was elected Mayor! She remembered her tasks: Stephanie cut the ribbon that opened Towne for the day, and she chose her favorite drawing to win a prize in the best stamp contest. And, she remembered preparing for her day in Young AmeriTowne: practicing writing checks, balancing a checkbook register, and feeling incredibly grown up the whole time.
At this young age, Stephanie was unknowingly preparing for a future career in finance. “At the time, I didn’t realize that buying a cookie in Young AmeriTowne would have such a profound impact,” she noted after stepping into AmeriTowne 17 years later. “But something this simple shows young people that the flow of money is paramount to how an economy works.”
For Stephanie, youth financial literacy is something she’s passionate about. Stephanie feels like an early introduction to savings and basic financial concepts, both in Young AmeriTowne and by holding an account at Young Americans Bank, helped her avoid financial problems that plague many adults. “Plus,” she said, “The older you get the more overwhelming financial concepts become.”
More than 400,000 youth have participated in Young AmeriTowne since the program began 26 years ago. On track to reach an additional 31,000 this year, Young Americans hopes other young people can have a similar, memorable experience in this beloved program.