Q & A:
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Q: What does LifeSmarts teach teens?
A: The content and competition questions focus on five key areas of consumer knowledge that teens need to know to function effectively in today's marketplace. These areas are: personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights & responsibilities.
Participants develop teamwork skills, self-esteem, verbal communication skills, leadership abilities, and have fun in the process. They learn to spot and avoid frauds and scams and how to make smart purchasing decisions. Brochures, booklets, videos, teaching guides, text books, websites, and other educational resources provided by government agencies, businesses, consumer groups, and trade associations are the source of this information which can easily be obtained by any consumer.
The state champion team represents the state at the national competition. Players win prizes such as savings bonds, products, certificates, t-shirts, hats and other items.
Q: How do we create a team?
A: How team members are identified is up to the coach and the group or school. Players can practice on the LifeSmarts Web site Consumer tests, play-offs, and interest groups are ways that have been used.
Q: Who can be a coach?
A: Coaches are adults over 18 years of age who are committed to the education of teens. A coach can be a teacher, business leader, college student, or youth group leader. Coaches teach students consumer life skills and give them information needed in the "real world." A Coaches Guide is available from the LifeSmarts State Coordinator and online via national LifeSmarts website under the Coaches Tab, it will help answer all your questions. Being a coach gives you access to a national network of consumer educators, and provides access to free and inexpensive educational resources.
Q: Is there a fee to participate?
A: LifeSmarts is FREE to any group of teens and their coach who want to participate. There is NO fee or registration cost.
Q: How much time will participating take?
A: Team members spend one day away from school to participate in the state competition. If the team proceeds to the national competition, time away from school will not exceed two days. Most of the preparation time is spent learning about the consumer topics in ways chosen by the coach and team.
Q: How does the team sign up to get involved?
A: Teams must sign up to participate in their state competitions. To sign up, you must return the following forms:
Q: How does the competition work?
A: The Internet competition coaches may register anytime after August 1st for the new competitive year. The on-line competition opens on the second or third Monday in September, and after that students may go on-line to register, take practice quizzes, and compete. Team members must compete during the time frame set for Alabama's on-line competition.
There are four rounds to each competition and teams play for points.
Experts from all over the country prepare and review the questions to ensure accuracy. Each competition has officials such as question masters, judges, referees, scorekeepers, and timekeepers. The officials are adults from the community who support teens and education. Teams that win the state competition compete for national title.
Q: When will the competitions be held?
A: Practice tests for 2011 will be available on-line soon at www.LifeSmarts.org. Alabama's 2011 on-line LifeSmarts Competition is from Monday, September 13, 2010 through Wednesday, February 2, 2011. Students can begin registering for the 2010-2011 LifeSmarts competition on August 1, 2010. Alabama's in-person competition date has been set for Wednesday, March 9, 2011, on the campus of Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama.
The 2011 National Competition will be held April 30-May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA.
Q: What other information do I need?
A: The staff of the National Consumers League (NCL) and your state partner are available to answer questions and to provide suggestions on how to get involved in LifeSmarts. NCL has inexpensive resources available for order.
Bernice B. Wilson, PhD, AFC, CFCS Resource Management Specialist Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs Alabama Cooperative Extension System P.O. Box 967 Alabama A&M University Normal, AL 35762 Phone: 256-372-4969 Fax: 256-372-5840 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org