About the Program
- To increase participants' knowledge of the American economic system and global economy through individual and group study.
- To help prepare participants for an active role in business through involvement with business leaders.
- To provide an exchange of ideas among youth scholars and local business and professional leaders.
- To acquaint youth scholars with career opportunities in business.
- To provide leadership training for youth scholars and junior leaders serving as officers and committee members in local, area, state and national programs.
- To provide citizenship training for youth scholars and teen leaders as they learn about the American way of doing business.
Local programs are the heart of the program. They begin at a time which suits the convenience of local people involved.
One of two approaches is used in the local program:
- the extended program, or
- the concentrated three-day impact program.
The extended program meets once a week for 6 to 8 weeks for 1 to 2 hours of discussion of selected topics, with the help of local business or professional persons as discussion leaders. Other group activities include key visits to selected businesses.
While more challenging to organize and conduct, the concentrated impact program approach seems to encourage larger numbers to become involved, stronger school support and a larger number of those beginning the program completing it satisfactorily.
Youth Scholars who excel in local programs are selected to attend the 3-day Kentucky Youth Seminar at the University of Kentucky. They continue their study and, as officers and directors, solve the corporate business problems of their corporations. Top Seminar Youth Scholars receive cash awards totaling $1,500 or more. In addition, 20 all expense-paid trips are awarded for the annual meeting of the American Institute of Cooperation held each year on the campus of one of the nation's leading universities
A fun-filled and information-packed five-day event, NICE is the largest youth conference in the country that is dedicated to educating its attendees about the cooperative form of business. Students work in teams to gain knowledge on cooperative business principles, to develop valuable leadership skills, to get to know their peers from across the U.S. and to have a lot of fun.
In the student-run cooperative component of the conference, each team forms its own cooperative, electing a general manager and buying items at wholesale from the cooperative distribution warehouse to resell to its members or market to nonmembers (participants from other teams and/or leaders and chaperones).
Attendees also participate in a case study competition where each team summarizes two cooperative cases, stating the problems, developing alternatives to solve them, choosing a course of action and laying out an implementation plan for that action. In the business simulation activity, students act as if they are the management team for their co-op, competing for market share and net worth by making decisions about pricing, inventory, personnel, advertising and borrowing.
Each state also nominates one male and one female candidate to be selected Outstanding Youth Scholars based on written applications focusing on exhibited leadership skills and cooperative knowledge and interviews before a panel of judges.