Media center

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:

Sandy Pitkethly
Vice President, Marketing
Currency Marketing
604-792-4053 ext. 23
Email Sandy at

Media kit

If you have a Young & Free Maine media question, please contact:

Jon Paradise
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
Cell: 207-653-2309

Media resources

  • PDF | Young & Free Maine Fact Sheet—2013
  •  PDF | Young & Free Maine FAQS—2013


  • PDF | Brand Identity Guidelines
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Media releases

  • 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

Media coverage


Sound Off Announces its Winner

FOX Bangor | By  Jaclyn Cangro

Five local acts, competing to win Young & Free Maine's Sound Off Music Competition.

Nearly 30 musical groups entered the contest, with the public voting for their favorite.

The top five moved on, and performed in front of industry professionals for the top prize Friday afternoon.


"It's a pretty decent prize, especially for all these young musicians. The top two winners will be performing live at KahBang," says Lauren Reeves from Young & Free Maine.

Adds singer/songwriter Samantha Lynn, "KahBang is like the pinnacle of playing in Bangor. It's a great stage and everything. It's great exposure for us, we want to share our music with everybody."

The grand prize winner was ska band, The Skastitutes, with Samantha Lynn coming in third.

The KahBang music festival will be held in August.

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Local Bands “Sound Off” for Spot on KahBang Stage

WABI TV5 | By John Krinjak

Bangor was home to a true battle of the bands Friday.

Young and Free Maine, with the help of local credit unions, hosted the “Sound Off” Live Audition to determine who will get to take the stage at a major music festival this summer.

All different genres–from funk to rock to ska.

All different backgrounds–from UMaine classmates to longtime acoustic partners.

All up-and-coming young artists with a lot to prove.

30 local bands entered an online voting contest last month, and the top five battled it out in front of a panel of judges to see who gets to take the stage in front of thousands.

“When you’re young and you don’t have a lot of money and you’re just starting out in your music career, what could be better than someone giving you the perfect opportunity to get exposure,” said Lauren Reeves of Young and Free Maine.

After some serious deliberation, Reeves announced the winner: The Skastitutes of Orono.

The Skastitutes will get a one thousand dollar gift certificate to record an album here at Maine Street studios, and the opportunity to play at the KahBang Festival on the Bangor waterfront.

“We’re pumped. We can’t wait to play at KahBang,” said Skastitutes lead singer Nolan MacDonnell.

The festival happens this August. As for that album…

“We have an EP recorded right now with four songs on it, and we want to add some of our originals, get an album going and get our music out there,” said MacDonnell.

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Windham woman to help young Mainers with financial literacy

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.”

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UMaine graduate named a Young and Free Spokester finalist

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

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UMPI grad Taylor Ussery named "Spokester" finalist

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

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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 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.

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UMPI graduate named “Spokester” finalist

The Star-Herald 

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 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 Voting ends June 18 at 3 p.m. Only one vote per legitimate email address.

Kirsten Russell ’13 Named A Finalist For Young & Free Maine Spokester Competition

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.

 + Original article