Going to summer camp can bring back fond memories, and like sparks from a campfire, the idea for a different kind of summer camp was spawned by Grayson RECC Member Services Department’s Kim Bush, Tina Preece, and Julie Lewis. This summer camp was Camp Co-op and the plan was to focus not only on the enjoyable but electric education as well.
“I also thought the camp should be inexpensive, convenient for parents and a fun learning experience for the campers,” says Grayson CEO Carol Ann Fraley.
Organization for the three-day Camp Co-op began at the end of March while working on the cooperative’s May 11 annual meeting coordination. The outline of the camp was achieved with three goals in mind: safety, conservation, and “where does our energy come from?” Advertising for the camp was placed in the May issue of Grayson’s Kentucky Living magazine and on the co-op’s Facebook page as well as local radio stations.
Students that had just completed third, fourth, and fifth grades, and whose parents or grandparents lived on Grayson RECC power lines, were eligible to attend camp.
Day one focused on circuits and conservation. Camp kids watched Touchstone Energy videos at breakfast, toured the co-op headquarters building with Kim Bush, heard a story about electricity, and painted a lightbulb canvas with Julie Lewis that incorporated their name into the bulb filament. Grayson RECC’s Robert Brown took over with recreation playing Jump the Creek. Kids also heard a presentation from Environmental Conservationist Chris Carpenter where they got to hold turtles and non-poisonous snakes. Kids ended the day decorating “circuit bugs” to take home.
The second day of camp kids heard about the meaning behind the Touchstone Energy logo and the importance of having a vote when being part of a cooperative. Campers made solar ovens that morning and heated up nachos and cheese in them later in the day. Tina Preece gave an energy conservation lesson to show how much electricity their stuff uses. East Kentucky Power Co-op’s Joe Settles and Solar Sam met with the kids at the Grayson RECC solar panels for a presentation, and afterward they built a solar car with Joe and Tina Preece. Keeping with the solar theme, they also made solar mason jars. Robert Brown’s wife, Jaime, brought their pet pig for a really special guest appearance. The day ended with co-op student worker Allie Skaggs making a Pickle Glow.
The last day of camp centered around safety. The day began with Robert and Julie doing a safety presentation. Kids then made switch plate and outlet covers. Next, they made safety and Touchstone Energy posters. They played kickball for recreation then had a collaborative light bulb painting session. Neighboring electric co-op Fleming-Mason Energy came and did an outside hot-line safety demonstration. Kim Bush’s snack was trail mix that was centered on the electric company—each piece of food represented something from the co-op—lines, boots, hard hats, etc. The day ended with bucket rides, presentation of certificates and camp T-shirts.
Not only did the kids have a chance to learn at Camp Co-op, Grayson RECC has eight summer college students that played an integral role in the success of the camp. Two girls conducted some of experiments and took on some of the crafts prior to camp ensuring timing of the agenda flowed properly. Two other students were designated as leaders making sure the kids got from one place to another. During camp, every part of the cooperative was used during this educational opportunity—from the board room to meeting room, as well as co-op grounds and the solar area.
Camp Co-op was a huge hit among the 15 campers who attended. The only complaint among many was the camp could have been longer or have happened every day this summer. Parents also called to say their kids are still talking about the camp and all the fun they had while still learning quite a bit in the process.
Grayson RECC looks forward to next summer and offering this great community outreach program. For more information about Camp Co-op, call Grayson RECC’s Julie Lewis at (606) 475-5191.