Learning valuable skills at Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp

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The annual Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp, sponsored in part by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, brought together nearly 100, 16 to 18-year-olds at Glen Eden Resort near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. From July 17-22, kids were given the opportunity to learn about the electric cooperative business model through educational sessions and activities. To participate, students from Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas completed an application and review process determined by their local co-op, which pays all costs for those elected to attend.

The week kicked off with the campers creating a co-op, which they joined by paying a fee of 50 cents. Members then elected a board of directors, hired a general manager and held meetings, where minutes were taken and committees created. Committee members were charged with various responsibilities, such as organizing a volleyball tournament or the mid-week dance.

Michelle Pastor, Tri-State senior education program advisor, commented, “I was impressed with the leadership, speaking ability and confidence these kids came with. They were asked to get up and present in front of more than 100 people and they did it well.”

Camp counselors, who led activities and learning sessions focused on leadership and motivation, were volunteer staff from Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas co-ops, Colorado Rural Electric Association and Tri-State. In addition to educational activities, the group made the most of being in the mountains. Outdoor adventures included rafting the Colorado River, a tour of Craig Station and Trapper Mine, a hike to Fish Creek Falls and a trip to nearby Steamboat for ice cream.

The week culminated in a camp-formal banquet, giving campers and counselors the opportunity to reflect on the experiences of the week. It was also during this final meeting that the cooperative they formed earlier was officially dissolved, bringing mixed emotions. “They really got into their roles and were tied to the success of the organization they created together,” Pastor said.

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