Home From Camp

Porter, Ernzen, Bond

FreeState Electric Cooperative is one of 21 participating co-ops who sent Kansas high school students to the 41st annual Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colo. From July 14-20 this year. Joining their peers from Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming, approximately 100 youth learned about the cooperative principles and leadership skills at the week-long educational retreat. This year, FreeState sent Mia Bond from Tonganoxie High School and Megan Ernzen from Lansing High School.

Mitchell Porter, Rossville High School graduate, returned to camp as an ambassador. 

Bond and Ernzen met fellow Kansas and Oklahoma participants as they boarded the bus along its route to Colorado and upon arriving in Denver, the group was treated to a snorkeling experience at the Denver Aquarium. Campers swam face-to-face with a Grouper, a school of Cownose rays, Moray Eels, red drums, nurse sharks and 400 other exotic underwater species.

When the group arrived at Glen Eden Resort, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, the campers began daily membership meetings where a general manager, board of directors and committees were selected. The week-long experience also gave participants an authentic camp feel with river rafting, a volleyball tournament, swimming, a dance and a talent show.

Several demonstrations and presentations enhanced students’ knowledge on the cooperative model and operations at their electric cooperative. Campers competed to build a model transmission line out of craft supplies, toured Trapper Mine, Craig Power Plant, a solar array and experienced a high-voltage safety demonstration. The campers also raised $390 to donate to the NRECA International Foundation. Bond and Ernzen both agree this trip was an opportunity of a lifetime and one they say will stay with them as they bring the lessons and leadership skills they learned back to their Kansas communities.