Wednesday, during a break from the two-week sports camp, professionals of a different manner entered the gym to teach more than 100 kids about the importance of saving their money.
Laura Willbanks, from Hamilton State Bank regional branch operations, directed a program aimed to share with young campers about earning money and saving it over time. Older youth asked about how interest works allowing Willbanks to explain how their money can grow through compounding interest.
Although the details behind banking are complex, Willbanks just wants to plant the seed for a healthy habit to grow.
"The main thing is that young people can learn and create habits easier than people who are older," Willbanks said. "If they learn when they are young, it will carry forward with them as they grow up, as they go to college and when they have a family."
Representatives from Hamilton State Bank were on hand to help pass out information made specifically for kids, with definitions and examples of how money can grow in addition to a chore chart for planning how to make and save their money. Kids at the Eddie Lee Wilkins summer camp also took home information aimed at parents to help develop a family savings plan.
Eddie Lee Wilkins and his wife Dawn Wilkins began the youth summer camp program in 1990 after Eddie Lee Wilkins made a career in the NBA with the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.
Money In The Bank is the name of their financial lesson series for kids. The Wilkins held the first program in cooperation with Bartow County Bank in 2007, but Money In The Bank did not return to the regular summer camp lineup until this year where kids learned how to open a savings account.
"This segment is to teach the kids how to save money and about banking at an early age -- just to make them aware of how important it is to save money," Eddie Lee Wilkins said. "I think that it's very important for the kids to learn about the value of money and what things they can do with it by saving, like [Willbanks] said, they could have money for college or whatever they choose."
The highlight of the event for a select group of campers came with the donation of 10 certificates worth $25 to start a savings account at Hamilton State Bank. In addition, the Eddie Lee Wilkins Youth Association offered to match the donation for any camper keeping the $25 in their new accounts for one year. Winners were selected by camp staff looking for kids who were attentive during the lesson and displayed certain character attributes during the camp.
"We want to reward the youth that are listening and doing well in camp. We want to reward them for having a good attitude and good sportsmanship," Dawn Wilkins said. "It was started in 2007, but this is the first year that we brought it back. We went to [Hamilton State Bank] and they decided they would sponsor it. So we are very grateful to Hamilton State Bank's contribution."
For more information, visit www.elwyouth.org or call 770-382-5236.