From the September issue of The Tennessee Magazine, "Between the Lines" written by SVEC President/CEO Mike Partin
News From Your Community
Many of you are probably aware that Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative maintains an ongoing presence in our local schools. From conducting in-person classroom demonstrations to providing online educational resources to teachers, your children know more about how electricity works and how to stay safe around it thanks to experiences and information provided by your co-op.
But what some folks may not realize is just how deep our commitment is when it comes to reaching out to young people. The foundation of our responsibility is found right there in one of the Seven Cooperative Principles that define SVEC’s business model: “Education, Training and Information.” Since our establishment 82 years ago, we have provided educational opportunities to a number of groups — members, elected officials, directors, community leaders and employees. But perhaps none of our outreach efforts has been more impactful than those directed toward youth
We’ve built a strong relationship with local school systems by providing interesting and age-appropriate energy education that engages students while helping their teachers meet core standards. Though the bulk of these presentations is made to public school students, SVEC personnel also share energy education information with scout groups, 4-H clubs, college students, groups of homeschoolers and those attending STEM camps and summer library programs.
One of our signature offerings has been sponsoring area high school juniors on a weeklong, expense-paid trip to visit our nation’s capital — along with the opportunity to win scholarships. Although last summer’s Washington Youth Tour had to be canceled due to the pandemic, we’re back on for 2022! Participants see places of cultural and historical significance, network with their peers from across Tennessee and the U.S., and get a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our system of government. They also come away from the experience with a feel for just how important electric cooperatives are to the communities they serve. A similar, closer-to-home experience is offered when we make it possible for students from our service area to attend the annual three-day Youth Leadership Summit in Nashville.
As wonderful as these opportunities are, there is an underlying reason for our involvement with youth outreach that goes beyond the fundamentals of energy education. The fact is, many of the young people impacted by SVEC’s educational efforts will grow up and start families of their own right here in our service area. Today’s students become tomorrow’s consumers — and the next generation of our members. As the years pass, a number of these young people will step up and become leaders in their communities. Some may even come to work for us or provide service as a member of the cooperative’s board of directors. With each new generation, SVEC’s responsibility continues — to help those we serve fully understand the power of electricity and the life-changing power of co-op membership.
Be sure to check out pages 20-23 for information on SVEC’s 2021 Washington Youth Tour Writing Contest winners, local youth who participated in 4-H Electric Camp and the 2021 Bright Ideas educational enhancement grants available to local educators.