Marketing

American 1 CU’s 'Teen Idol' Competition Remains a Big Hit

About 50 youths auditioned for the Michigan CU's singing contest.

October 04, 2013
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American 1 CU Teen Idol

Caitlin LeBlanc, 14, received a trophy, an iPad, and $1,000 after winning American 1 CU's Teen Idol singing competition.

In its 10th year, the American 1 Teen Idol singing competition remains a big hit.

This year’s winner traveled six hours to compete and dreams of becoming a professional singer. A recent champ has been building his music career in Los Angeles and soon will release his first album. And this year, contestants raised more than $3,600 for good causes, including a local performance school with income-based tuition fees—defraying participation costs for the next crop of budding stars.

“It’s a great way to get kids involved,” says Jessica Lutz, event and marketing specialist for $252 million asset American 1 Credit Union of Jackson, Mich.

About 50 candidates ages 13 to 19 auditioned for the event, based on the TV hit “American Idol.” Ten finalists had to raise at least $250 each to compete on center stage at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The Jackson School of the Arts, which helps staff the competition, received $2,000, with the remainder going to the winner’s charity of choice.

Fourteen-year-old Caitlin LeBlanc of Brimley, Mich., clinched the title in July by singing Miranda Lambert’s “Over You.” She took home $1,000 and an iPad, and donated $1,600 to the Ronan Thompson Foundation, which fights childhood cancer.

“She’s got a great voice, and says she wants to release an album someday,” says Lutz.

American 1’s events team also coordinates many free kids’ events as part of its branding and community and youth outreach.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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