Lauren' s interview with on Portland's Q97.7 at Old Orchard Beach.
What is Young & Free Maine? A great account and a voice for Maine's 18-to-25 crowd.
The Young & Free Initiative is a platform designed to help define freedom for Maine youth and provides fun and educational resources to help and challenge young people to move towards that freedom. Young & Free Maine comes to life in an online environment where meaning happens amongst thought-provoking, relevant and empowering dialogue.
- Give Maine's 25-and-under crowd a voice and place of their own.
- Empower members of this group to define and find freedom.
- Provide free and relevant advice.
- Find a spokesperson from within this group who will listen and be an ear to what’s going on about topics that are important to youth.
- Help Maine's Credit Unions learn from the 25-and-under crowd to help the credit unions design better products and services that this group needs.
- Raise the profile of Maine's Credit Unions to get on young people’s consideration list for possible financial institutions.
If you are looking for more information about the Young & Free Program, please contact:
If you have a Young & Free Maine media question, please contact:
Governmental & Public Affairs Manager
Maine Credit Union League
207-773-5671 ext. 273
Toll-Free in Maine: 800-442-6715
Outside Maine: 800-341-0180
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- PDF | 06-21-2013 | Maine’s Credit Unions Welcome Lauren Reeves as the Third Young & Free Maine Spokesperson
- PDF | 04-12-2013 | Maine’s Credit Unions Launch Third Online Search for Young & Free Maine Spokesperson
- PDF | 05-04-2011 | Huge Perk Added to the Young & Free Maine Spokesperson Job Search!
- PDF | 04-29-2011 | Down East CU Gives free4ME a “Jump Start” with Unique Enhancements
- PDF | 04/18/2011 | Maine’s Credit Unions Launch Online Search for Spokesperson
Lakes Region Weekly | By John Balentine
Five years after the Wall Street crash, many Mainers are still facing a bleak financial future.
Young Mainers, those age 18-25, are especially struggling to find good-paying jobs while dealing with large student debt payments and high apartment rental rates.
Those are the kinds of folks 21-year-old Lauren Reeves, a recent University of Maine graduate and Windham transplant, will try to reach as the new “spokester” for the Portland-based Maine Credit Union League.
Reeves, who grew up in Lovell outside of Bridgton and attended Fryeburg Academy, was a journalism major at Orono. In her new role, Reeves will tap her experiences at the student newspaper as she aims to relate to and encourage younger Mainers as the spokeswoman for “Young & Free Maine,” a credit union league program in existence for three years that aims to increase membership rates in the 18- to 25-year-old age bracket.
“I was a writer and editor at the student newspaper at UMaine and for every story I covered I had to talk to somebody, whether it was calling them on the phone or walking up to them at an event. I had to put myself out there and introduce myself to people all the time,” she said.
Reeves was one of eight who applied for the statewide job, which was run more as a contest where each applicant submitted blogs and YouTube videos about why they deserved the position. Those skills will come in handy as her job will consist of regular blog updates on the Young & Free Maine section of the league’s website, as well as making short movies that illustrate a point she’s trying to make or feature people she’s met at events.
Similar to the previous two “spokesters” – a title that originated with the first spokester, who thought it sounded more hip than “spokesperson” – Reeves will spend one year in the position. Her tenure began Monday, July 1. She’ll spend much of July in training and then hit the road in a car supplied by the credit union league attending events throughout the state.
Reeves, who doesn’t have any long-range career goals and is “taking it one day at a time,” is excited to have her own company car and to have a chance to explore Maine.
“I cannot wait to connect with other people my age and make sure that they’re getting the best possible solutions from their financial institution,” she said.
Once relationships are made, the idea is to keep those young Mainers engaged by writing online blogs and making videos they will find interesting, she said.
“It’s all about educating people about how to manage their money, how to join a credit union, how to use the resources a credit union hast,” Reeves said. “So it’s like a PR gig for credit unions but it’s actually a fantastic way to educate people my age how to manage their money in general, whether they decide to be in a credit union or not.”
In its first two years, the program is winning new members for the 63 credit unions the Maine Credit Union League serves. According to league spokesman Jon Paradise, 9.61 percent of members as of May 2013 were in the 18- to 25-year-old age bracket, compared with 5 percent in May 2011, when the Young & Free Maine outreach effort began. Credit unions have also seen a 1.9 percent increase in overall memberships since the program began, he said.
“We think we’ve found a way to connect with 18- to 25-year-olds by having someone their age talk to them about issues like student debt, balancing a checkbook, buying their first car, in some cases buying their first house,” Paradise said. “I think it’s been much more relatable to hear it from someone with their own jargon and their own experiences than to have someone in their mid-40s telling and more lecturing them how to do things. So, I think they’ve really connected well with having one of their own generation talking to them about the financial services.”
Reeves, who just moved to Windham to live with her sister and will soon start to pay off about $20,000 worth of student debt, said she can relate to the league’s target demographic, not only because she is that age but because she faces the same issues. Saving money after covering living expenses and paying down debt may be the biggest obstacle of all, she said.
“I think that saving money is hard for young people because through the media and all the celebrities that we see we think we need to live a lavish lifestyle. So I think we’re spending more than we have and still trying to save, but that’s not happening if you’re going to spend more than you have,” Reeves said. “I think it’s an epidemic where we’re living in a time and age that we’re borrowing a lot of money, we’re starting to get in debt younger and younger, going to school is expensive, buying a car is expensive, living on your own is expensive, so I think some people my age just don’t know where to start to save because we have so many expenses.”
Reeves is excited to use her role to help young Mainers to avoid the pitfalls and get on a path toward financial freedom.
“I am hoping to actually make a difference,” she said. “I am hoping that people see me out and about and look at my videos and read my blogs and I hope they learn something from me and hopefully join a credit union and manage their finances better.”
Bangor Daily News
Lauren Reeves, a recent graduate of the University of Maine, has been named one of the finalists for the Young and Free Maine Spokester title powered by Maine’s Credit Unions.
Reeves is in the running along with three other contestants to represent the 18-to-25 crowd for credit unions in Maine. The winner receives a year long job of blogging, making videos, traveling and connecting with other young people around the state.
At UMaine, Reeves graduated with a double major in Journalism and Spanish. She earned a spot on the Dean’s List every semester and was an active member in Lambda Pi Eta, the national honors society for Communication and Journalism.
The Young and Free Maine Spokester will be announced June 21. To view
her videos and blog posts, go to
+ Original article
University of Maine at Presque Isle
Taylor Ussery, a 2013 University of Maine at Presque Isle graduate, has just been named one of four statewide finalists in the "Young and Free Maine Spokester" contest, powered by Maine's Credit Unions. Voting is underway until June 18 at 3 p.m. and the new Spokester will be named by June 21. To vote for Taylor, please visit www.youngfreemaine.com/2013-search.
Serving as the Young and Free Maine Spokester involves connecting with Mainers between the ages of 18 and 25 through daily blog entries, weekly video blog entries and social media. During his or her year on the job, the Spokester also participates in numerous travel and speaking engagements.
Ussery just graduated from the University with her Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a minor in Professional Communication. During her time at UMPI, Ussery was very involved in campus activities–-she served as a tutor, a member of the Lady Owls soccer and basketball teams, secretary of her Senior Class, and was named the October 2012 Student of the Month.
Ussery is asking the Aroostook County community to support her campaign for the Spokester position in two ways: by voting for her at www.youngfreemaine.com/2013-search and by helping to spread the word about the Young And Free Maine Spokester contest.
To learn more about Ussery and her efforts to become the next Young and Free Maine Spokester, please view her finalist page. Voting ends June 18 at 3 p.m. Only one vote per legitimate email address.
Taylor Ussery, a 2013 University of Maine at Presque Isle graduate, has just been named one of four statewide finalists in the “Young and Free Maine Spokester” contest, powered by Maine’s Credit Unions. The position involves connecting with Mainers between the ages of 18 and 25 through blogging, social media and videos. Ussery is asking the Aroostook County community to support her campaign for the Spokester position in two ways: by voting for her at http://www.youngfreemaine.com/2013-search and by helping to spread the word about the Young And Free Maine Spokester contest. To learn more about Ussery, you can view her finalist page at http://www.youngfreemaine.com/search-applicants/2013-spokester-search-taylor-ussery. Voting ends June 18 at 3 p.m. Only one vote per legitimate email address.
WAGMTV.com | By Katie Zarrilli
A young woman from the county is looking to become the next young spokester for Maine’s credit unions, and she needs your help. News Source 8′s Katie Zarrilli introduces us to Taylor Ussery and tells us what we can do to see her achieve her goal.
Wheaton Field Hockey
Cumberland, Maine native one of four finalists
NORTON, Mass. – Recent Wheaton College graduate and field hockey student-athlete Kirsten Russell '13 (Cumberland, Maine/Greely) has been selected as a finalist for the Young & Free Maine Spokester competition powered by Maine's Credit Unions. Russell is one of four finalists for the contest that concludes on June 18, 2013 at 3 p.m. To vote for Kirsten click here: Young & Free Maine Spokester Competition. The Spokester will be named on June 21.
The Young & Free Maine Spokester is the voice of the 18-to-25 Maine crowd. This person is aware of what's happening in the lives of people 18-to-25, can relate to them and can capture the essence of what this group is about. The Young & Free Spokester will work full time attending events and posting daily blog entries and weekly video blog entries. Throughout the year, there will be numerous travel and speaking commitments. The winner will also be an advocate for the 18-to-25 Maine crowd and represent Maine's Credit Unions.
At Wheaton, Russell majored in psychology with a minor in theater as a four-year member of the field hockey team. Russell sang the National Anthem at every home contest for the Lyons and was also a member of The Wheatones, an all-female a cappella group at the College.
Russell earned two academic awards during her senior year as she collected a National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) National Academic award and a selection to the NFHCA Collegiate National Academic Team.
Russell, who was a consistent member on the Dean's List for compiling a 3.50 grade point average (GPA) or higher at Wheaton, has a chance to win several prizes by winning the competition including: a car, free gas for a year, a free smart phone, video equipment and a free MacBook Pro.
To view Kirsten's applicant page click here: Kirsten Russell Young & Free Maine Spokester Page.
Morning Sentinal | By Ray Routhier
A Maine blogger will follow the British boy band around the U.S., report on its concerts and be paid to do so.
Kylie Keene is a blogger and aspiring journalist with one hot summer assignment – cover the boy band One Direction as it plays to throngs of screaming girls at sold out shows across the country.
What's her strategy?
"I'll probably be screaming right along with them," said Keene, 23, of Portland. "We fan girls are a different breed."
Keene has been selected by Nabisco -- sponsor of One Direction's summer North American tour -- to be the "Nabisco 1D VIP Tour Correspondent" covering the band at five shows spread out through the summer.
Not only does she get free admission, transportation, and lodging while working, she gets paid for this dream gig too. Her "salary" for five shows is $40,000.
"I've been out of school for a while, so the student loan payments are due," said Keene, who graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 with a degree in journalism. "And I'll probably buy some concert tickets along the way."
Nabisco held a contest to pick the tour's special correspondent, spending about a month earlier this spring reviewing video applications and essays.
Keene works as the "Young & Free Maine spokester" for Maine's Credit Unions. She blogs, makes videos and travels the state promoting credit unions to young adults. So when she heard from another blogger about the VIP correspondent opportunity, she read the description and thought it would be perfect for her.
"I just shared (in the application video) that I am passionate about what I do, passionate about making videos and telling stories and about the power of live music," Keene said.
It likely didn't hurt that she also mentioned her love of little peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches her mother made for her, with Ritz Crackers, a Nabisco product.
Though she says she's a big fan of boy bands and going to concerts, Keene confessed that her first One Direction show will be the first one she covers, on June 14 in Miami. Her blog can be found at 1DVIP.com.
She's a big fan of another boy band, Hanson, and remembers seeing them for the first time when she was 14. But her very first concert was seeing Aerosmith, with her dad.
"And he went to Hanson shows with me too," said Keene, who grew up in Farmingdale.
The five young guys in One Direction -- Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson -- were discovered by Simon Cowell on the British TV show "The X Factor" in 2010. The group's debut album, "Up All Night," entered the U.S. Billboard album chart at No. 1 and the band has gone on to sell more 29 million records. Every one of the 35 shows on the band's summer tour is sold out.
Keene's correspondent travels will amount to several mini-summer vacations, with trips back to Maine in between. Besides Miami on June 14, the other shows she'll cover are June 25 in Philadelphia, July 13 in Chicago, July 22 in Dallas and Aug. 9 in Los Angeles.
Her main duties will be to see the shows, watch the crowd and the band, and report on the band and the screaming fans. She'll also alert fans to ticket giveaways.
She'll be allowed to see sound checks before shows, but is not sure what other kind of access she'll have to the band.
"This is an incredible launching pad for me, a chance to put my skills to use and show people what I can do," Keene said.
WCSH 6 News
BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Five local bands got a chance show off their talent today in hopes of winning the opportunity to perform live at the 2013 KahBang music festival.
The Second Annual Sound Off Competition, sponsored by Maine's Credit Unions and Young and Free Maine, was held at the Main Street Music studio in Bangor. About 40 online submissions from 18 to 25 year olds were received and voted on by the public. The field was narrowed to five bands that got the opportunity to audition live for a panel of judges.
The grand prize went to Skosh, a jam/rock/alternative country band from Buckfield. But this event wasn't all about competition. The musicians say it was also a great chance to network with local artists, and build up the Maine music scene.
"Maine, it's getting better all the time. It doesn't have a great music scene, but it is improving, and it's because of people doing things like this," said Justin Chamberlain, member of the band One Shot Nothing, a competition finalist. "People who have the ability to give bands a chance to perform and give them these opportunities. People doing that kind of thing is definitely improving the Maine music scene for sure."
The grand prize winners also received a full day recording session at Main Street Studio so they can put their music on an album.
Bangor - Some local young musicians had a very big audition on Friday.
On the line, a gig at a popular Bangor summer concert.
Quite the show inside Main Street Studios in Bangor.
" We're getting a little taste of how they'll be on stage and see how'd they be performing at KahBang," said Kylie Keene, Young and Free Maine Spokester.
It's Young and Free Maine's Sound Off Competition. Earlier this year, the public voted and the top five artists or groups are in the finals.
" It's just great to be in a contest where they support music and also to be with so many other talented young people," said Anna Pillsbury.
Anna Pillsbury, Lauren Crosby, One Shot Nothing, Skosh, and The Factory are the top five.
" Skosh formed in 2008 so we've been building up material and playing out a lot. We think we're ready for the big stage," said Jedidiah Allen, a member of Skosh.
" We wanna show them that we can perform, get in front of people and be all right," said Jack Davis, a member of The Factory.
" I grew up with like Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin as my influences and I wrote this song last year and it's about my parents and my sister and my family in general," said Lauren Crosby.
" Rock it and have fun," said Pillsbury.
" We're just trying to get as many shows as we can. We're finishing up an album, and trying to get our music out there and go play for people," said Justin Chamberlain, a member of One Shot Nothing.
It was a tough choice for the judges, but Skosh took top prize. For
winning, they get to perform at KahBang in August and get a full day
recording session at Main Street Studio.