Pennsylvania Credit Union Association

Huggins Wins Statewide Credit Union Youth Ambassador Contest

HARRISBURG – On May 15, Laura Huggins, New Buffalo, was declared the winner of a statewide contest to serve as 2009 Credit Union Youth Ambassador of Pennsylvania.  Huggins represented the Harrisburg Chapter of Credit Unions and is a Product Management Coordinator at Belco Community Credit Union, Harrisburg.  The annual statewide contest was held during the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association’s (PCUA) 75th Annual Convention & Expo held May 14-16 in Hershey.

Huggins, 25, is a graduate of Cedar Crest College, Allentown, with two bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Management and is also a graduate of Central Bucks East High School, Doylestown.  As Pennsylvania Credit Union Youth Ambassador, Huggins will speak to credit union officials throughout the state at Association events and regional chapter meetings.

The First Alternate was Meghan Deaver, 24, of Ridley Park, representing Sun East Federal Credit Union, Aston, and the Delaware County Chapter of Credit Unions. 

Second Alternate was Marshall Winters, 23, of Montoursville, representing Wyrope Williamsport Federal Credit Union, S. Williamsport, and the Susquehanna Valley Chapter of Credit Unions.

The judges for the contest were

  1. Dr. Dilip Abayasekara, Special Assistant to the President, Central Penn College, Summerdale;
  2. Vicki Joyal, REAL Solutions Field Coach, National Credit Union Foundation; President/Owner CVJ Strategic Intelligence, Madison, WI;
  3. Mary Rosenkrans, Acting Director, Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education;
  4. Shelly Vils, Manager, Credit Union Training, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, WI; and
  5. Col. (Ret.) Mark Volk, Executive Vice President, Lackawanna College.
Thirteen finalists won regional contests before advancing to the state finals.  The finalists completed a written exam before presenting speeches about credit union topics.  A panel of five judges selected the winner, tallying scores from the test, personal interview, and speech.

The additional 10 contestants were:
  • Beaver Valley Chapter – Ryan Shadley, Beaver Falls
  • Erie Chapter – Tifffany Layden, Erie
  • Lan-Chester Chapter – Justine Bollinger, Stevens
  • Montgomery County Chapter – Kimberly Miller, Phoenixville
  • N.W. Susquehanna Chapter – Lyndi Martin, Allenwood
  • Philadelphia Chapter – Alexis Wood, Voorhees, N.J.
  • Schuylkill Chapter – Julie Kaylor, Temple
  • Shortway Chapter – Jordan Lydick, DuBois
  • Wyoming Valley Chapter – Jill Houseknecht, Plains
  • York Chapter – Kaitlin Olewiler, York
The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association conducts the contest to attract young people to credit unions and to prepare them for leadership roles.  Credit union members between the ages of 17 and 25 compete and are sponsored by the Association’s chapters.  The contestants are judged on their knowledge of credit unions and their ability to communicate that knowledge.

Several hundred young people have competed in the Credit Union Youth Ambassador Contest since the early 1970s.  Many of the contestants have gone on to hold volunteer and professional positions within the credit union movement.  

Credit unions are non-profit financial cooperatives that provide affordable financial services to help their owner/members.  The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, based in Harrisburg, provides legislative, professional development, and operational support and services for nearly 600 credit unions in Pennsylvania.  These credit unions have assets in excess of $28 billion and serve nearly three and a half million members.  For additional information about credit unions, visit  To find a credit union near you to join, visit

Editor’s Note:  Photos available upon request.