Young & Free Maine, Maine CUs rock Old Port Festival

Maine Credit Union League Update

On Sunday, June 5, Maine credit unions worked the crowd and there was a big one to work.  From local Mainers, to distant New Englanders and beyond, the 43rd annual Old Port Festival drew 50,000 people to Portland's downtown, and Young & Free Maine and Maine's credit unions were there connecting with many of them.  One of the highlights for festival goers was to witness the winners of the Maine Credit Unions' 2016 Sound-Off Competition, Happy Folk and Wyld Lyfe.

All smiles after visiting with thousands at the Old Port Festival on behalf of Maine credit unions are: Mallory Lavoie, former Spokester, and Jake Holmes, the new Young & Free Maine Spokester.

All smiles after visiting with thousands at the Old Port Festival on behalf of Maine credit unions are: Mallory Lavoie, former Spokester, and Jake Holmes, the new Young & Free Maine Spokester.

Young & Free Maine, powered by Maine's credit unions, was also on hand providing resources to and sparking conversations between Millennials about their personal finances and ways to save for their futures. Many who stopped by the Young & Free table, set up right next to the One City Center Super Stage, took to a chalkboard to write down their biggest financial challenges. Visitors received a Young & Free gum pack, which doubled as a Young & Free business card, or t-shirt for participating.

Jake Homes, Young & Free Maine's newest Spokester, representing the state's 18-25 age group remarked, "We had a blast! People who stopped by our table tended to stick around for a while. They were engaging in the chalkboard and were interested to read the challenges their peers were facing. Most discovered that they shared many of the same financial challenges, and found comfort in knowing they weren't alone."  "Festival goers were genuinely interested in what Young & Free was all about, and it was a great opportunity to connect with young Mainers. We are all faced with financial challenges, so it was a topic most young people in attendance could relate too."

For a recap of Young & Free Maine at this year's Old Port Festival, check out the video.

Original article

New Young & Free Maine Spokester Announced

Maine Credit Union League Update

It's official!  Jake Holmes is the new Young & Free Spokester for Maine's 25-and- under crowd. The official announcement was made at this year's Convention during the 78th Annual Delegates' Meeting & Luncheon on Friday, May 20. Jake will assume the position, previously held by Mallory Lavoie for two consecutive terms, on Friday, June 17.

Jake, a native Mainer, first discovered his passion for sharing stories through his lens in high school. He went on to study video production at the New England School of Communications at Husson University in Bangor, where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Communications Technology in May. During college, Jake worked at WVII and WFVX, Maine's local ABC and FOX television affiliates, first as an intern, and then went on to be hired as a production assistant.

As a recent graduate, Jake began taking a better look at his finances and noted the interest rates and fees on his student loan payments. As the Young and Free Spokester, Jake hopes to, "spread awareness about the benefits of credit unions and help young people avoid the mistakes I've made" when choosing how and where to borrow money for education and other life expenses.

"It is very important for Millennials to learn about finances because we truly are the future of this state. I want to see Maine grow in a positive way," stated Jake. "I want to show people that it is possible to live and be financially stable in this beautiful state. I want to showcase all the fun and unique things you can do in Maine on a budget."

Debra Trautman, VP of Corporate Marketing for the Maine CU League, said Jake possesses the enthusiasm, passion and background "we were looking for in our next Spokester.  For the past two years, Mallory has generated lots of positive activity and growth for Young & Free Maine, and we believe Jake will continue the program on that path and offer new perspectives and ideas."

Jakes first appearance as the Young & Free Maine Spokester will be at the Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft on Saturday, June 25. To check out Jake's announcement video, click here.

Young & Free Maine, powered by Maine's Credit Union, provides financial services customized for the 18-to-25 crowd. To learn more, visit the Young & Free Maine website.

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Contest provides positive 'noise' for Young & Free, Maine credit unions

Maine Credit Union League Update

Finalists in the band and soloist/duo categories of the Sound Off Music Competition gathered at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer on Thursday, March 31, to perform their original music live before a panel of judges. Portland-based duo Happy Folk and the band Max Ater & The Marshalls of Bath were the Grand Prize winners, with each group winning a $500 gift certificate to Main Street Music Studios and both will be performing at the 2016 Old Port Festival on Sunday, June 12.

Strong media coverage from local TV and radio provided positive awareness for the contest and the Young & Free Maine program.  Nik Hasenfus and Aria Zarnoski of Happy Folk spoke with WLBZ 2/WCSH 6 after their win. "It stresses the importance of working on something that you believe in, despite economic or other reasons you might decide not to," said Nik.  "[We're] chasing the dream, really, and just going at it no matter what," continued Aria. "If you have work, if you have school...For us, we're full time school students and full time workers. Music is hard, but we make it work. It's a passion and it's never going to die."

This was the fifth year that Young & Free Maine sponsored and hosted the Sound Off Music Competition. The contest is open to Maine residents between the ages of 18-25, and musicians may enter in one of two categories: band or soloist/duo. The four-judge panel was comprised of Andrew Clifford, President and Founder of Main Street Music Studios; Brad O'Brien, bass teacher and member of the trio River Bottom Funk; Jared Wilkinson, folk artist, jazz musician, and member of 2015 Sound Off winning band Sasquatch; and Josh Howes, Branch Manager of Maine Savings FCU.

"Maine Credit Unions really care about reaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes," said Young & Free Maine Spokester Mallory Lavoie in an interview with WABI 5.

All finalists have been featured on the Young & Free Maine website. In addition to the prizes received by the Grand Prize winners, 1st Runner-Up finalists Logan Burns and the band Wyld Lyfe each won a promotional video, along with a DJ interview and live performance on WCYY 94.3. The 2nd Runner Up finalists Paige & Brooke and the band Hours North each won a customized marketing and promotional package.

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Maine Musicians Compete for Recording Time & Portland Performance

WABI TV5 | By Caitlin Burchill

Maine musicians had the chance to score some sweet prizes to kick start their career Thursday.

Young and Free Maine, a Maine Credit Union League program, hosted the “Sound-Off Music Competition” at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer.

After wowing people on social media, the top three groups and solo/duo acts, now had to impress the judges.

Winners went home with recording time at Main Street Music Studio in Bangor and a chance to play at the Old Port Fest in Portland.

“Everyone else is really great, so it was just kind of fun to be here and listen to the competition because they’re all really talented,” said Paige Bacon of “Paige & Brooke,” a country music duo from the Hermon area.

“Maine Credit Unions really care about teaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes,” said Mallory Lavoie of Young and Free Maine.

Both winners in each category were from Southern Maine.

“Paige & Brooke” were second runners up for the solo/duo category. They received customized marketing materials.

List of winners, visit this website.

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Portland Duo, Bath Band winners of Sound Off Music Competition

WCSH 6 Portland | By Chris Facchini

Some talented young musicians competed Thursday in Brewer for a chance to get some studio time to record an album and to play their original songs before a live audience. It's the fifth annual Sound off Music Competition put on by the Maine Credit Union league and Young and Free Maine.

Winners announced in Sound Off Music Competition

Winners announced in Sound Off Music Competition

The six finalists competed before a panel of judges at Next Generation Theater in Brewer. The winner of the competition gets 500 dollars of free recording time at Maine Street Studios in Bangor and a slot to perform at the Old Port Festival in Portland in June. Nick Hasenfus and Aria Zarnoski of "Happy Folk" are the winners in the category of soloist or duo. The young couple say they're thrilled to play before a hometown crowd.

"Really it stresses the importance of working on something that you believe in you know based on economic or other reasons you might not want to," Nick said. "Chasing the dream really and just going after it no matter what if you have school, you know for us we're full time students and full time workers. Music is hard but we make it work and its a passion and we're not going to let it die," added Aria.

The winner in the band category was Max Ater and The Marshalls of Bath.