Aanyah Lovett, rising junior at Central High School, was sponsored by Carroll EMC to attend the Georgia Cooperative Council Youth Leadership Conference held at the FFA/FCCLA Center July 17-21.
At the conference, affectionately known as “Co-op Camp,” Lovett joined with nearly 40 other young leaders from Georgia and Virginia for a week of leadership development taught through interactive sessions and games as well as fun outdoor activities. Students were given the opportunity to grow in problem-solving, relationship building and communication while in a fun, relaxing environment.
Leadership skills were learned by teaming up with peers and participating in an interactive workshop where they better understood different personality types and how to work with each other while navigating social situations. Students also competed in challenging high-ropes and mud courses that helped them build meaningful friendships and making the goodbyes at the end of the week bittersweet.
“Co-op camp made me much more social,” said Lovett. “Everyone was so inviting. You’ll truly have the time of your life learning about different types of businesses—who knew!”
Members of the Georgia Cooperative Council, including Carroll EMC, sponsor the conference to not only offer a leadership development opportunity but also to provide a unique way for students to learn about cooperatives and why they are vital to communities.
Throughout the week, students sat in on sessions with representatives from the Farm Credit Associations, Georgia EMC, Go Energy Credit Union, Pineland Telephone Cooperative and the Cooperative Way. The presenters emphasized and gave examples of how their organization incorporates the seven cooperative principles that all cooperative businesses follow: voluntary and open membership, democratic membership control, members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, education and training for members, cooperation between co-ops, and concern for local communities.
“It is so important to support and encourage leadership growth for the youth of our communities. This week-long conference brings the seven cooperative principles to life for these teenagers while fostering leadership and soft skills in a fun environment,” says Ryan Sammon, Community Relations Specialist for Carroll EMC.
The Georgia Cooperative Council is a statewide, nonprofit cooperative association whose membership is composed of financial, electric, telephone, marketing and service cooperatives. The objective of the Council is to promote and encourage all types of cooperative associations in the state and to educate the public about the cooperative way of business.