Sand Mountain Electric
Council teaches cooperative benefits
The Co-op Couples Conference is one of two programs sponsored by the Alabama Council of Cooperatives. It grew from co-op leaders across the state having a desire to teach young couples about the benefits of doing business with co-ops. The first conference was held more than 37 years ago and since that time more than 1,000 couples have attended to learn about the cooperative way of doing business. At the annual event couples learn that co-ops are owned and run by members. Attendees have an opportunity to ask questions and interact with staff and other participants. The breakout sessions teach about the different types of co-ops and how members can benefit from doing business with them. Some co-ops represented at the conference include electric, telecommunications, finance, dairy, supply and marketing. A unique feature of this conference is the fact that attending couples actually serve as the emcees and are called host couples. There are two host couples selected each year and they are in charge of the program. It is considered an honor to be selected by peers to serve as a host couple and lead the group. Bruce and Jennifer McCurdy from Valley Head served as a host couple for the recent conference and said this was unlike any conference they have attended. “We met a lot of great people over two years of attending this conference and we learned valuable information to help us save money at home. We have always paid electric and telephone bills to local co-ops, but we never thought about the businesses themselves,” said Jennifer. “The conference taught us that co-op members are part owners and have a voice in the business. Co-ops have director elections at their annual meeting and members vote for people to represent them on the board. And non-profit co-ops provide goods and services at the lowest price possible. You won’t find that with an investor owned company that is working to make as Chuck and Candace Emerson of much money as they can for their products or services,” Flat Rock represented SMEC at the she concluded. 2012 Co-op Couples Conference. The Emerson’s have four children The council also sponsors a teaching camp for youth. and are active in their commuThe annual Co-op Youth Camp is held in the summer at nity and school. They volunteer the 4-H Center in Columbiana. Around 50 students from at the Flat Rock Community Club across Alabama are sponsored to camp where co-op and are members of the Alabama leaders share the co-op story to students and tell them Horseman’s Association. about the benefits of membership. Youth camp is for students completing ninth grade through senior year.
October 2012 7
9/21/12 11:36 AM
Published on Sep 27, 2012