LifeSmarts – the ultimate consumer challenge, has opened its 16th season, and the online competition, which tests teens in the areas of personal finance, consumer rights and responsibilities, health and safety, technology and the environment, officially has officially begun! We have been super busy this summer! LifeSmarts has begun to implement a number of upgrades and additions to the national program, Web site, and national competition. LifeSmarts.org A major addition to the program and to www.lifesmarts.org is the creation of LifeSmarts University, a virtual classroom that complements that LifeSmarts program. “LifeSmarts U” will be live September 21, and it will include lessons in the Tech Lab as well as five brand new personal finance lessons, found in the Finance Department, that were developed thanks to an unrestricted educational grant from Visa. As a re-branded and more extensive version of the current LifeSmarts Tech Lab, LifeSmarts U will eventually feature lessons from all five LifeSmarts topic areas – so be on the lookout for more lessons to come! The Program. LifeSmarts has also developed two newsletters, available at www.lifesmarts.org. LifeSmarts Coach’s Notes is a monthly newsletter for LifeSmarts coaches, which includes lesson plans and activities focusing on one LifeSmarts topic area per month. The LifeSmarts Sponsor Update is a bi-monthly newsletter for LifeSmarts sponsors, supporters and general enthusiasts, including monthly program updates and national and state program sponsor features. We are also now on Facebook and Twitter, and welcome all LifeSmarts participants and enthusiasts to become a part of our online community! National Competition. New components are planned for the 2010 LifeSmarts National Competition, to be held in Miami Beach, Florida, from April 24-27, at the Miami Beach Resort. New competition formats will allow students to compete more often and in fun, exciting new ways. A few hints about these improvements include: cumulative scores, the ability to challenge answers, and new ways to earn points! We will be keeping you posted throughout the program year as these upgrades are finalized, so make sure to check www.lifesmarts.org and our newsletters for more information. We appreciate everyone who has been involved with LifeSmarts – thanks for making it a part of your school, work, and extracurricular activities. We are looking forward to an exciting new year, and we hope you will join us!