Energy Camp excites, educates local teens
Four local students and one employee represented OEC at this year’s Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives’ Youth Power Energy Camp. The students were among 80 soon-to-be high school freshmen from across the state sponsored by their local rural electric cooperatives to attend the camp.
Chyann Emerson from Tuttle, Kellen Driever from Noble, Olivia Braley from Norman, and Bailey Lollis from Blanchard enjoyed the four-day, action-packed camp, which is held annually at Canyon Camp and Conference Center near Hinton. OEC Education and Outreach Coordinator Tory Tedder-Loffland also enjoyed camp as a counselor.
One of the main goals of the camp is to teach the students about electricity and the cooperative business model. This is achieved when they are assigned with the task of forming their own co-op.
“We divided the campers into seven co-op districts,” said Tedder-Loffland. “Each district was assigned a co-op principle as their theme. They made flags and created chants celebrating the meaning of their principle. This format allowed the campers many opportunities to practice leadership and support the unique strengths of everyone in the district.”
Braley's district elected her a board trustee, and two OEC campers — Lollis and Emerson — received interviews for general manager; Emerson emerged victorious and was named 2018 Energy Camp general manager. By the time camp was over, these young leaders knew the significance of the cooperative difference.
In addition to learning about cooperatives and electricity, campers climbed an electric pole, rode in a bucket truck, conducted team-building exercises, played games, visited Celebration Station and more.
"I had so much fun and made friendships of a lifetime," said Emerson. "I learned so much about a co-op!"
"[Energy Camp] has taught me so much about cooperatives, leadership skills and even new friendships," said Braley.
"I'll never forget what I've learned about co-ops," said Lollis. "Now I can have chats with my grandpa about co-ops."
OEC awards trips to camp to eighth grade students through a referral process conducted each spring. For more information on next year’s camp, keep an eye on the Energy Camp page at www.okcoop.org/EnergyCamp.