First Fully Virtual Youth Financial Boot Camp


Vacaville, CA – A week ago, the Travis Credit Union Foundation partnered with Buckingham Charter Magnet High School in Vacaville to put students’ financial savvy to the test. Through a hands-on, live budgeting simulation dubbed Mad City Money, students got a taste of what it is like to balance their finances in the real world—complete with occupation, salary, spouse, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments.

California is one of several states that does not offer financial education as part of its curriculum in schools. Through the Mad City Money simulation, “the knowledge they gain will help them to avoid common financial pitfalls in the future without having to experience the devastation firsthand,” says Mad City volunteer Shandretta Solomon.

The simulation provided students with realistic examples highlighting the connection between the decisions they make and the economic consequences of those decisions. Particular emphasis was placed on the link between post-secondary education and life-long earning potential.

After students visited all of the virtual merchants, they had the opportunity to review their budgets and choices with a member of the Travis team. Together they reviewed the students’ purchases, discussed the importance of savings and took a look at how they can better prepare for the future.

This was a free, fully virtual event, reformatted by the Community Relations team of Travis Credit Union (TCU) to accommodate the needs of the students and comply with the current state restrictions. TCU sees this new format as an opportunity to reach even more students to explain money management and help them gear up for the future. Since starting the Mad City Money initiative in 2009, Travis Credit Union has helped more than 5,900 students in their journey to financial literacy.

For more information on how you can bring Mad City Money to your school, contact Steward Pimienta Smith at [email protected].

Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 12th largest credit union in California with more than 217,000 members and more than $4.2 billion in assets.