CU Ambassador Contest

Nurturing the Next Generation

CrossState Credit Union Association developed the Credit Union Ambassador Contest to help the younger generation learn about the history, philosophy, and operation of credit unions. Participants gain experience in meeting and interacting with other people, and public speaking — skills that bring career opportunities. For more than 40 years, the contest is still opening doors to credit union careers. The Credit Union Ambassador promotes financial education, as well as the benefits of the contest and credit unions. They speak at Association-sponsored education sessions and leadership conferences, and attend chapter meetings and other special events. The state winner also serves as a role model to encourage young professionals to participate in their credit unions. 

Contest Structure 

In order to compete in the state contest, individuals must either compete and win in a Chapter contest or submit a proposal to the CrossState CU Ambassador Team. 

Chapters hosting contests must invite credit unions in their regions to compete. Up to three winners can be selected from the Chapter, they move on to the regional competition. 

The regional competition will consist of the chapter winners and any entries that CrossState received from individuals who had no chapter contest or an inactive chapter. Regional winners will be notified in November.

Each region, of which there are eight, will have up to three finalists for a total of 24 contestants moving to the state level. Ten finalists will be selected to display their final projects at Convention, with the Top 3 presenting their project on the second evening.

History & Purpose 

The Credit Union Ambassador Contest (formerly the Youth Ambassador Contest) is an opportunity to advance the careers of credit union professionals ages 21 and up and provide a platform to move their credit union forward. 

The contest has evolved from the Miss Credit Union Contest to the Youth Ambassador Contest, and now the Credit Union Ambassador Contest. Since its inception, hundreds of staffers dedicated to the credit union industry have learned more about the movement, while advancing their future as leaders. Many former contestants have achieved success in professional positions within their credit unions. 

The State Finals 

The Credit Union Ambassador is selected each spring during the State Finals, held in conjunction with CrossState’s Annual Convention. 

Contestants are selected based on the judging rubric and the proposal, which are outlined below.

Judging Rubric — All projects and proposals will be judged on a rubric that includes content on: 

  • Link to credit union improvement
  • Impact of the project
  • Quality of the report
  • Overall impression

One Page Proposal — Applicants will be required to submit a one-page proposal and a letter of recommendation that will be submitted to Chapter leaders, followed by a project that mirrors the CrossState Leadership School (formerly Judge/Bradley Leadership School) first-year project. The proposals should include why contestants feel the project is valuable for their credit unions, how they plan to implement the project, and what data they plan to measure to determine success.

Contest Awards — First prize receives $1,000 in cash, a free registration for the CrossState Leadership School and the Fall Leadership Conference in 2022, free registration for the 2023 Annual Convention, and publication in the CU Edge magazine. In addition, the winner can choose 3 additional educational opportunities (webinars, regional trainings, etc.) adding up to a maximum of $500. First prize is also inducted as a member of the CrossState Community Service Project Committee. As the final part of the prize, contestants may choose one activity from an assortment of regional activities provided by CrossState. For example, a contestant may choose 2 tickets to a regional theme park as their final prize.

The runner-up receives free registration for the CrossState Leadership School and the Fall Leadership Conference for 2022, along with a $750 cash prize.

The Regional Contest

The second-level of competition will be based on 8 regions total, 6 in Pennsylvania and 2 in New Jersey. Each region is guaranteed 3 slots in the final contest. If your local chapter is active and holds a contest, you must participate in that contest for consideration at the regional/state level. If your chapter is not participating in a local competition, or is inactive, you can submit directly to CrossState instead.

Please see the PA/NJ map for how regions are divided. The regions are divided by county:

  • Erie Region: Erie, Warren, McKean, Potter, Crawford, Venango, Forrest, Elk, Clinton, Mercer, Clarion, and Jefferson counties
  • Northeast Region: Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Lackawana, Pike, Columbia, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Northampton, and Lehigh counties c. Pittsburgh Region: Lawrence, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Clearfield, Beaver, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Cambria, Washington, Green, Fayette, and Somerset counties
  • Central Region: Centre, Union, Blair, Huntingdon, Mifflin Snyder, Juniata, Perry, Cumberland, Adams, Franklin, Fulton, and Bedford counties
  • Capitol Region: Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, Berks, and York counties
  • Philadelphia Region: Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia countie
  • North Jersey Region: Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, Warren, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth counties
  • South Jersey Region: Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Cape May, and Atlantic counties

Duties and Responsibilities of the CrossState Credit Union Ambassador  

The role of the CrossState Credit Union Ambassador will be an active one. The Credit Union Ambassador will take part in several CrossState-sponsored promotional activities, such as speaking at the Association’s conferences and speaking at chapter meetings. He or she may be called upon to attend various meetings or functions throughout the year. 

To protect the interests of the credit union movement, all appearances of the Credit Union Ambassador as a representative of the CrossState Credit Union Association must be coordinated by and cleared through CrossState. 

The Credit Union Ambassador will be expected to speak at CrossState events and be involved with credit unions throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He or she will have the opportunity to travel to several areas of the states, meet interesting people, and will receive significant personal recognition for the credit union, chapter, and CrossState. It will be a year of new friendships, networking, and personal enrichment — one not readily is forgotten. 

The Credit Union Ambassador will be expected to represent the credit unions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the very best of his or her ability in all official functions and appearances involved with the title. 

Everyone benefits by participating in the contest, as it generates interest and excitement about credit unions and demonstrates that credit unions are interested in the future of young people. More importantly, it helps prepare young professionals for leadership roles in the credit union movement. 

All proposals must be submitted to CrossState by October 31, 2021. Contestants will have until March 10, 2022 to submit their final projects to CrossState. Projects shall be a maximum of 15 typed pages or 12 PowerPoint slides. Contestants are encouraged to include charts, graphs, and other reference materials where applicable. The Top 10 projects will be announced by early April 2022.

A complete list of rules is available here. We have also compiled a list of FAQs, available here.

Contact the CU Ambassador Contest Team with any further questions.

Expenses 

CrossState will remain in contact with the Credit Union Ambassador and will make arrangements for attendance at events to which he or she is invited. Out-of-pocket expenses of the state Credit Union Ambassador in connection with approved functions will be paid by CrossState. 

The CrossState Credit Union Ambassador of Contest is sponsored annually by the CrossState Credit Union Association and its member credit unions through participating chapters.