From press release:
What are the different types of taxes? What’s included on a credit report? What are healthiest ways to prepare food? These are just a few of the numerous topics studies by the Putnam County 4-H team as they prepared for the National Virtual LifeSmarts contest in April. LifeSmarts, a consumer education competition that challenges teens in grades 9-12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities, is a program of the National Consumers League (NCL).
The program has been in existence for 27 years. This year the competition was conducted online with 33 teams competing for the 2021 title. “LifeSmarts participants win by learning to avoid common consumer pitfalls, navigate the government, and understand credit card jargon before they have to sign on the dotted line,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL, a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit watchdog organization.
The Putnam County 4-H team earned the chance to compete in the virtual national contest by completing the state online assessment earlier in the year and being named the Tennessee state champions. Team members included Bailey Steger, Jesse Allen, Evelyn Jones, and Britta Gaetjens. During the two day national event team members competed in a medicine infographic challenge, individual topic assessments, speed smarts game show type quizzes with a fellow team from New Jersey, and a quiz bowl buzzer round. Team members also participated in virtual icebreakers and completed a virtual breakout room.
When asked about the experience, Britta Gaetjens stated “LifeSmarts was a challenge and I enjoyed learning everything from what a car lemon law is to what area code indicates a national number. I also enjoyed spending quality time with my teammates and getting to know them better.”
“LifeSmarts participants gain the consumer ‘smarts’ they’ll need to make it in the real world,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “We’re proud to have the teens from Putnam County 4-H represent Tennessee at the National LifeSmarts Championship.”
“I had an amazing time learning new things and working with my team through this competition” Bailey Steger explained, “I will make good use of my newly gained knowledge and teamwork skills in everyday life and in my future career.” The team placed 12th out of the 33 teams who competed.
This was the first time a team from Putnam County had competed in the national contest, however the team is already making plans to compete again next year and try to make it back to the national contest. Putnam County 4-H programs are open to all 4-H members in 4th – 12th grades. For more information on becoming involved in 4-H activities contact the Putnam County 4-H Office at 526-4561.