I am returning from the 19th annual LifeSmarts competitions this year in Atlanta elated as always with the energy and enthusiasm of the very talented teenagers that come to our nationals’ competitions. Everyone who comes to nationals is a winner in more ways than one. They are literally winners because they’ve won their state competitions. But they are also winners because they have so much consumer savvy – often far more than their peers and even their parents or family members.
LifeSmarts tests contestants in five different areas: personal rights and responsibilities, health and safety, the environment, technology and personal finance. The National Consumers League sponsors LifeSmarts because we believe that young adults who understand the world around them and can navigate often complicated financial transactions with savvy and know how will make better consumers.
This year we had teams from 39 states competing – and hundreds of teens in the room cheering their teams on, getting to know kids from other states, studying lessons online in preparation for their competitions and having a lot of fun in their off time.
There are many other competitions for youth – spelling bees, math quiz shows, overall knowledge testing – but there are none that provide young people with the practical skills they will need to help keep them financially and economically on course for the rest of their lives. We are proud of the LifeSmarts program and we look forward to growing it so that youngsters from all 50 states can benefit from the practical skills the LifeSmarts program teaches them.