October 1, 2023 |

Celebrating National Co-op Month

Throughout the month of October, you will be hearing a lot from us about cooperatives. That's because October is when cooperatives across the country celebrate National Co-op Month.

Cooperatives are organizations owned and operated by their members for their mutual benefit. Cooperatives can take various forms, including consumer cooperatives, worker cooperatives, agricultural cooperatives, and more. We want to take just a few minutes to highlight the importance of cooperation, community involvement, and the positive impacts that cooperatives can have on local economies and societies.

Electric co-ops, like us, exist to serve our members, but our priority is to provide affordable, reliable energy to our communities. Guided by The Seven Cooperative Principles, established by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), an organization that represents cooperatives around the world, cooperatives ensure they operate fairly, democratically, and sustainably. These Principles include:

1.  Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are open to all individuals who can benefit from or contribute to the cooperative's activities, regardless of their background or status. Membership is a voluntary choice.

2.  Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are controlled by their members, who actively participate in decision-making and have an equal say in the cooperative's policies and operations. Each member typically has one vote.

3.  Member Economic Participation: Members of cooperatives contribute to and democratically control the capital of the cooperative. Surplus funds generated by the cooperative are often distributed among members in proportion to their level of participation or contribution.

4.  Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are independent organizations that are self-governed by their members. They may enter into agreements with other entities, but decisions are made in the best interests of the cooperative and its members.

5.  Education, Training, and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training to their members, employees, and the broader community to enhance their understanding of cooperatives and their role in society.

6.  Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives work together in solidarity and collaboration to strengthen the cooperative movement and achieve common goals. This principle promotes mutual support and shared resources among cooperatives.

7.  Concern for Community: Cooperatives contribute to the sustainable development of their communities by working for their social, economic, and environmental well-being. They prioritize the needs and aspirations of the community in their actions.

These principles are a foundational framework for cooperatives worldwide, guiding their actions and ensuring that they operate in line with values of democracy, equity, and community development.

This October, as we celebrate Co-op Month, we're focusing on all the ways "Co-ops Grow" for their members.

Co-ops Grow Communities. Co-ops help communities grow by promoting economic empowerment, fostering community engagement and supporting the unique needs of co-op members. "Concern for Community" is one of our core principles––and being community-focused is essential to everything we do.

Co-ops Grow Together. Co-ops are all about cooperation, not competition. That's why electric co-ops work together to share lessons learned, successful strategies, and better ways to serve our members. We're better when we grow together!

Co-ops Grow Tomorrow's Leaders. Electric co-ops serve as fertile ground for growing tomorrow's leaders through various youth engagement programs. Whether through school demonstrations, community events, or the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program, we're committed to providing opportunities for local youth to learn and thrive in our community and beyond.

Co-ops Grow for You. At our co-op, your satisfaction is our number one goal. It's why we were formed many years ago to fulfill a uniquely local purpose. We've come a long way since then, and your needs continue to evolve. That's why we'll never stop growing for you!

The essence of a cooperative lies in its members, and we are incredibly fortunate to have such an engaged and supportive community. Your involvement, ideas, and feedback allow us to grow in our service to you through continued improvements and innovations that benefit us all.

This National Co-op Month, as we celebrate the cooperative principles that underpin our shared journey, we want to extend our sincerest appreciation. It is your partnership that strengthens us, and it is your satisfaction that fuels our dedication.

Thank you for entrusting us with your energy needs. We look forward to many more years of serving you, growing together, and contributing to the prosperity of our community.