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The cooperative investment in education

Chris Meyers

The cooperative business model believes so strongly in education that one of the Seven Cooperative Principles is solely devoted to it. Principle No. 5 reads: “Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.”

Thankfully, this guiding principle (along with the other 6 principles) are not mere words on paper, they are the building blocks on which electric cooperatives stand.

Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are strongly committed to education. Over the years, more than 3,000 Oklahoma high school juniors have met U.S. representatives and learned more about our nation’s government by traveling to Washington, D.C., on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Nearly 1,000 Oklahoma eighth graders have attended the YouthPower Energy Camp, an educational and recreational event that engages students in leadership exercises while learning about electrification and the cooperative business model. Throughout the state, tens of thousands of students have been reached through school presentations on safety and the basic elements of electricity; students have been granted scholarships and given the opportunity to go on educational trips, as electric cooperatives serving in all 77 counties made it a priority to invest in local youth.

We invest in today’s youth because we know they will be tomorrow’s leaders in our communities. While we try to measure the number of students who have been reached through the years, we cannot realistically measure the impact on each student’s life and how this investment has shaped young adults in our communities.