Author: Joel Hilton

Volunteer Service Opportunities

According to America First bylaws, three members will be elected to three-year
terms on our Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting on April 19, 2022.
Incumbent volunteers are Barney Chapman and Kenlon Reeve.

Those interested in becoming Directors must have membership in good
standing, be 18 years or older, bondable, free from conflicts of interest, and
available for meetings. Apply at and include a
statement of qualification (limited to 150 words) by 5 p.m. on January 8, 2022.

Nominations by petition are accepted and must be signed by at least 500
members. Qualification statements with 150-word limits, biographical data,
and signed certificates stating they are agreeable to nomination and will serve
if elected are required. Such petitions must be received by 5 p.m. on February
28, 2022. Balloting will not be conducted if there is one nominee for each open
position. Nominations from the floor are not accepted.

2021 Annual Meeting Update

In accordance with America First bylaws, the Board of Directors Nominations Committee has identified three members who will stand for election by acclamation at the credit union’s Annual Meeting. This meeting will take place at 1344 West 4675 South, Riverdale, UT 84405 on April 20 at 3 p.m. MDT.

After thorough interviews and qualification screenings, the incumbent Board candidates are:

  • David McConkie
  • Cathy Person
  • John Spease

Please join us in congratulating these volunteers, who selflessly give of their time, talent, expertise, and experience to enhance the financial well-being of America First members.

Loveland aquarium

Discounted Deep Sea Discoveries

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is home to more than four thousand animals from all over the world. Visitors can immerse themselves in various entertaining & educational experiences as they walk through six different habitats:

  • Ocean Explorer – Enjoy being surrounded by sea creatures in the 40-foot underwater tunnel. Here you’ll find grey reef sharks, loggerhead sea turtles, southern stingrays, and the giant Pacific octopus.
  • Expedition: Asia – Take a trip east to learn more about exotic creates on both the land and the sea, including Chinese tree dragons, clouded leopards, Banggai cardinalfish, and Asian small-clawed otters.
  • Penguin Research Station – Penguins are fascinating & adorable, and you can see a group of Gentoo penguins dive off the rocks and watch them swim above and below the surface. You may even get to enjoy feeding time.
  • Discover Utah – From Tremonton to St. George, our state has a beautiful variety of environments and wildlife. In this area you can observe wood ducks, desert tortoises, Bonneville cutthroat trout, and the North American river otter.
  • Journey to South America – A short drive will allow you to explore a tropical rainforest. This habit features such creatures as the electric eel, Linnaeus’ two-toed sloths, green anacondas, and keel-billed Toucans.
  • Deep Sea Land – Most of the oceans remain unexplored, but you can see some very interesting discoveries from the depths, such as the Pacific hagfish, giant isopods, and the Japanese spider crab.

And during the month of February, we have a special offer for our members! You can receive $5 off every regular admission when you use your America First Visa® credit or debit card at the ticket office.

Please note that this offer is subject to availability and current limited-capacity requirements may delay entrance times. However, you can purchase discounted tickets in advance for later use, if you’d like.

plasma donation

The Value of Blood—Donating Plasma

If you need to make some extra money and you enjoy helping others, donating plasma could be a good option. Plasma is made up of the water, enzymes, proteins and antibodies in your blood. Companies process plasma to create medicines and to use in therapies. Since it can’t be created synthetically, and donated plasma does not go directly into the body of another person, businesses are willing to compensate donors for their time. If you’re considering a plasma donation, here are some things you should know:

  • You need to be between 16 and 69 years old.
  • You must weigh more than 110 pounds.
  • You must be in good health and free of infectious diseases.
  • You’ll have to pass a basic physical examination.
  • You should bring a valid photo ID and have proof of your Social Security number.
  • Some medications can prevent you from donating plasma.
  • Recent body piercings or tattoos may also prevent you from donating.
  • Some donation centers use promotions or coupons to draw in donors.
  • Search online for local plasma donation centers—make sure the one you choose is IQPP-certified, such as BioLife, CSL Plasma, Grifols, and Octapharma.
  • Drink lots of fluids before you go, as this will help your blood flow faster.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol within 24 hours of donation, as these can affect your blood pressure and hydration levels.
  • Pump your fist (e.g. use a stress ball) to help increase the rate of circulation.
  • You can expect somewhere between $20 to $50 per visit, depending on the company.
  • Some companies will pay you more for repeat donations.
  • Payment is usually distributed in the form of a prepaid debit card.
  • How much plasma you can give is dependent on your weight—the more you can donate, the more you can earn.
  • Plasmapheresis, or the process of separating the plasma from the red blood cells, takes usually around 60-90 minutes.
  • Your first donation will take longer than subsequent visits, because of the medical screening.
  • Normally, you may only make two donations in a seven-day time period.
  • Generally, you must wait 48 hours between visits.

Please check the official websites of the companies for specific details regarding rules and compensation regarding donating plasma.


Autumn Preparation for Winter Protection

The weather may seem nice right now, but winter is coming. Properly preparing your house in autumn can help prevent costly damage from rain, ice and snow. Here are some tips on how to save some money as you ready your residence for the cold weather.

  • Clear Your Gutters – Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on your roof and cracked downspouts can lead to damaged foundations and flooding basements. Before the wet weather arrives, remove leaves and other debris from your gutters. Test the flow of water with a hose. Look for cracks or breaks and repair where needed.
  • Protect Your Pipes – Turn off your sprinklers, open the valves, and drain the pipes—this will help prevent them bursting due to expanding ice. Unhook your hoses and store them in a garage or shed to extend their lives and shut off all outdoor plumbing.
  • Check Your Roof – It’s much easier to inspect your roof when it’s not slick with rain. Fix for any raised or damaged shingles. Plus, while you’re up there, you could even hang your Christmas lights, so you don’t have to do it in the snow—just don’t turn them on until after Thanksgiving.
  • Inspect Your Heater – Furnace filters are easy to change, but you should also have a specialist inspect your HVAC system and make sure the ducts are clear. Make sure the vents aren’t blocked. If you have a fireplace, you should clear ashes and debris out, then have a professional clean the chimney.
  • Do a Safety Check – Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries if necessary. Additionally, check your fire extinguishers and make an emergency escape plan with your family.
  • Test for Drafts – Your heaters won’t be very effective if all the warm air is seeping out of your home. Check for drafts by putting your hand near the edges of windows and doors. Use weather stripping or caulk to stop cold air from entering your house.
  • Strengthen Your Lawn – Mow your grass one last time in autumn, and don’t forget to empty the gas tank of the mower before storing it. Fertilize your lawn before the first frost for a healthier yard when the spring thaw comes. This will strengthen the roots to resist the lower temperatures and help your yard green up faster in the spring.
  • Prep Your Garden – Clear weeds out. Plant bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and irises in the autumn for a beautiful start to spring. Inspect trees on your property for weak or damaged branches that could break if weighed down by snow. Bring your more delicate plants inside.
  • Stock Up on Supplies – Put an ice scraper in your car. Buy some ice melt. Check your snow shovels and your snow blower. It may seem too early for all this, but you’ll be thankful when that first snow starts to fall.
splash pad

Splish at a Splash Pad this Summer

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a waterpark, consider taking your kids to a splash pad. These recreational areas are usually run by the city—so most of them are free—and they include fountains, spray nozzles and other water features to help you cool off. Plus, since there normally isn’t any standing water at these public parks, swimming lessons are not required.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your family trip to a splash pad:

  • Look around – You may have seen a local splash pad nearby, but it’s probably not the only one. Search online to see how many are close to home.
  • Time it right – Mornings at the splash pad tend to be busy. You may find it to be less crowded if you go later in the afternoon.
  • Prep beforehand – Get everyone in their swimsuits and sunscreen applied beforehand, so no one has to wait to play in the water.
  • Don’t forget towels – Even in hot weather, playing in the water can make you cold. And make sure to dry everyone off before the drive back.
  • Bring some bandages – Wherever children and wet concrete meet, slips & scrapes will happen. Keep the fun going with some simple first aid.
  • Keep it clean – Use swim diapers for those who aren’t potty trained yet to avoid contaminating the water supply. Change dirty diapers immediately.
  • Supply some snacks – Nothing keeps your kids happy like a quick break to eat some treats. Keep it simple and keep the cooler at home.
  • Keep ’em hydrated – Playing in the sun will make you thirsty. Bring a couple of water bottles so no one is tempted to drink water from the nozzles.
  • Expect a short stay – Splash pads are fun, but it’s not an all-day event. After an hour or so your little splashers will probably run out of steam.

Geocaching—Treasure Hunting with the Family

Did you know there are hidden treasure boxes all around you right now? If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive summer activity you can do with the whole family, try geocaching—all you need is a GPS-enabled device and a sense of adventure.

Geocaching is the process of using GPS coordinates to find containers (or “caches”) concealed above the ground in forests, fields, caves, bodies of water and city streets. You’d probably be surprised to discover how many are nearby. According to, there are more than three million caches in over 190 countries. Some are as small as film canisters while others are large buckets. They have been placed there by the community of geocachers to give the others something to find.

Once you pick a cache and locate it using the listed coordinates, you’ll normally find some sort of logbook and some trinkets or small toys. The rule of geocaching is that if you take something, you’re supposed to leave something of equal or greater value. These real-world treasure hunts vary in difficulty, so all ages can enjoy it.

It’s easy to participate:

  • Step 1: Register for a free account at or download the free app. This will allow you to see coordinates for various caches, get clues from other geocachers and log your finds.
  • Step 2: Choose your cache by searching near your location or destination. If you’re just starting out, select a regular-sized or large cache with a low difficulty rating.
  • Step 3: Use your GPS-enabled device. Once you’ve successfully located a geocache, sign the logbook and then return it to its original location so the next treasure-seeker can find it.

Have fun outdoors and get some exercise by geocaching!

online statements

Easy, Earth-Friendly, Free: Online Statements

Most financial institutions, including America First, offer online statements. After all, paper versions fill your mailbox, clutter the counters and end up in the landfill.

To recognize Earth Day, considering cancelling your paper statements. With the online version, there’s no waiting for the mail—your information is available anytime, anywhere just by logging in to a secure account. Plus, online statements don’t get lost or delivered to the wrong address, and they guard against identity theft.

If instant access and added security weren’t enough, going paperless is also an environmentally conscious decision. Reducing unnecessary paper waste helps diminish the number of trees that need to be cut down annually. If everyone at all financial institutions got their statements exclusively online, we could help ensure our beautiful forests will be around for years to come.

America First makes switching easy:

  • Log in to online banking
  • Click the Other Services tab
  • Select Statement Preferences
  • Follow the brief instructions

Go paperless—it’s for your convenience, protection and better for your planet.

federal holidays

A Brief Explanation of Federal Holidays

Federal holidays have been around since 1870, but back then they only applied to government employees in the District of Colombia. As time went on, these officially recognized calendar holidays have broadened to honor icons & aspects of American heritage that have shaped us as a nation. On these holidays, all non-essential federal government offices are closed. Also closed are federally chartered financial institutions, including credit unions and banks. This is because many, like America First, depend on national agencies to process specific transactions.

There are currently 10 federal holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
  • Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September)
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
  • Veterans’ Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

If it falls on a weekend, the holiday will usually be observed on the closest weekday. Credit unions also close for official state holidays. In Utah, for example, America First offices close for Pioneer Day (July 24), while our Nevada locations will be closed on Nevada Day (last Friday in October) and Family Day (the day after Thanksgiving).

Although you’ll find our branches unavailable on federal holidays, we’re open to serve you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year with online and mobile banking, as well as at thousands of ATMs nationwide.


Don’t Get Fooled by Romance Scams

Falling in love can make you feel as though you’re walking on air, but if a budding relationship is exclusively online, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a romance scam victim.

  • You may be charming and attractive, but scammers will try grooming you by flattering your ego. Be suspicious if things progress too quickly without meeting each other in person.
  • Watch out if your new friend starts making financial requests. He or she may play with your heartstrings and say there are medical expenses to pay or ask you for travel expenses for a date. Don’t do it.
  • Never send cash, cashier’s checks, gift cards or wired funds to unverified individuals. It’s almost impossible to get that money back.
  • Resist the temptation to send expensive gifts to your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend. Save that for when and if you meet in person. Even then, don’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Private information, such as your account number or PIN isn’t to be shared with anyone but joint account owners.
  • Don’t provide your address, credit card numbers or Social Security number to someone you’re talking to on a dating site or in a chat room.
  • Resist any effort to connect to your account to an online friend’s, even if they claim they’ll only make deposits.

In short, a healthy amount of skepticism can keep you safe whenever you start seeing—or chatting with—a new love interest.