From the Top with CEO Patrick Grace — August 2023 | OEC News

In this month’s edition, we are focusing on what we call the “Youth Issue.” While the Annual Meeting is still a month away, it is essential to dedicate this issue to the young members of our communities and the programs that shape their futures.

At the heart of our cooperative’s mission is to improve the quality of life for our members and the communities we serve. One crucial aspect of achieving this goal is nurturing and developing our youth. We take great pride in our initiatives to empower and support young generations.

One of the remarkable programs we offer is Youth Tour, a longstanding initiative that grants eight high school juniors the opportunity to compete for an immersive, all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. This program serves as a valuable opportunity for rural youth to gain insight into the inner workings of government and expand their horizons.

Out of the eight participants, the four winners embark on the Youth Tour in D.C., while the remaining four students attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awakening (RYLA) camp. Recently, the Youth Tour students spent a week in D.C., where they had the chance to enhance their leadership skills and explore the nation’s capital. For a detailed review of our 2023 Youth Tour winners’ trip, please click here.

Additionally, we recently sent three eighth graders to Energy Camp, a 4-day summer camp designed to help student leaders grow in leadership development through team building and cooperation activities. These teens experience firsthand how a cooperative is created, managed and operated by forming their own. They learn the principles that define all cooperatives and are introduced to the many careers within the electric industry. Read more here.

As our mission revolves around enhancing the quality of life for our members, we recognized the growing need for reliable internet access in rural areas in 2019. Now, as classrooms evolve and schools increasingly rely on Wi-Fi and digital access for educational purposes, we are dedicated to supporting local schools by providing the necessary network capabilities to ensure students have equal opportunities for learning and growth. We have taken up the mantle of providing fiber connectivity to bridge the digital divide that can hinder progress and opportunities. Read more here.

Beyond these specific programs, what truly matters is our cooperative’s profound commitment to our communities’ youth.

It might seem unusual for an electric company to place such importance on the well-being of our young members, but that is what sets us apart. We have been a steadfast presence for 85 years and will continue to serve for many more years. Together, we are investing in the future and creating opportunities for the next generation to thrive.

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