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This article is from the September issue of the Kansas Country Living magazine.

SOPHIE IMM of Phillipsburg and CAPPI HOETING of Stockton attended the 45th annual Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp (CYLC) from July 15-21, 2022. The leadership camp was held near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and hosted 62 student leaders from Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming. These high schoolers were sponsored by 32 participating cooperatives across the four states and were selected based upon leadership skills, academic achievements, extracurricular activities and an interview.

During the camp, Imm and Hoeting learned how an electric cooperative is organized and operated by developing a model-cooperative. The campers elected a board of directors, appointed a general manager, established committees and attended daily membership meetings.

Camp participants also gained insight from educational seminars on leadership, online reputation management, conflict management, and co-op careers. HawkQuest brought in birds to talk about raptors and avian protection, linemen brought in a high voltage electricity demonstration unit, and the youth toured the Yampa Valley Electric community solar array.

Along with its professional development programs, CYLC included a visit to Mount Werner and downtown Steamboat Springs, whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, and other fun activities such as a volleyball tournament, swimming, talent show and a dance.

At the conclusion of the leadership camp, Imm and two of her peers were elected by a student vote as camp ambassadors, awarding them the opportunity to return to represent this year’s campers at CYLC in 2023.

“I learned so much about leadership and relationships at this camp, and I got to do it surrounded by people who are just as eager to learn as me,” Imm said.

“Before I came on this trip, I was expecting to be learning a lot of the day,” Hoeting, who took the initiative with another camper to lead an optional devotional Sunday morning, said. “When I got to camp, I was so glad we had a good balance of fun time along with time to learn new things.”

“Prairie Land Electric is proud to continue our sponsorship of our co-op’s student leaders at the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp,” Kirk Girard, CEO, said. “It is an honor to help provide students opportunities to grow in their leadership potential and develop the knowledge to further engage in our cooperative community.”

Prairie Land sponsors the trip for two students each year. For more information on how to attend or send students to camp, contact Kenzie Griffiths at 785-877-3323.