MEC Sponsors Local Students at Conference
Alivia Martin of Ebony and Emory Conner of Nathalie recently attended the Virginia Institute on Cooperative Education youth leadership conference held at Graves’ Mountain Lodge in Syria, Va. The event, sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Council, is held every spring with the mission of educating students about the unique business model that a cooperative utilizes.
Martin and Conner, who were sponsored by Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, joined 30 students from across the Commonwealth of Virginia representing more than 25 cooperatives.
Dustin Francis, MEC member and community relations coordinator, served as a group leader and chaperone during the trip. “Mecklenburg Electric is committed to investing in the youth across our service territory, with both time and resources,” he says. “VICE is an amazing opportunity for the young people to expand their leadership capabilities and build their financial and teamwork skills. Our cooperative is proud to provide this opportunity.”
During the conference, students participated in breakout sessions and workshops highlighting five cooperative models: electric, financial, purchasing, marketing and consumer food. Students were then placed into teams to compete in a computerized, interactive business simulation, “Who’s Minding the Store?,” making operational and financial decisions necessary to keep the business running in an efficient manner.
The conference helps students enhance their teamwork, leadership and communication skills, with top performers having the opportunity to receive up to $2,000 in educational scholarships.
“These students now have a new perspective on the legacy of cooperatives and the importance they hold in today’s society,” says Francis.
Next year’s conference is scheduled for March 24-26 at Graves’ Mountain Lodge.
Upcoming juniors and seniors, whose parents or grandparents are MEC Members, interested in attending next year’s conference can email Dustin Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org.