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I would like to thank the FreeState Electric Coop trustees and members for supporting me in attending the Youth Leadership Camp in Colorado. I became friends with several campers from Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Wyoming. I learned a lot about how electricity works and how we get our power. We did activities that were both educational and fun.  

We listened to several different speakers who provided key points to take into our time at camp and beyond. Saturday evening, we had a speaker who talked about the difference in confidence between 4-year-olds and high schoolers. 4-year-olds don’t care what they look like or what other people think of them, they just do it. High schoolers don’t want to get involved because they feel silly, or they are wondering what other people are thinking about them right then. Well, at camp we learned how to just be ourselves and step out to lead others. 

 On Sunday morning, we learned the importance of communication, compassion, and cooperation from speaker Rodd Welker. We also did fun activities to practice those qualities. We did an activity about trusting the other people on our team. Wednesday morning, speaker Craig Hillier told us to turn our “yeah, but” moments into “yes, and” moments. He also talked about the five “P’s”, patience, persistence, perseverance, passion, and purpose. By using the five “P’s”, I will be able to succeed in my chosen career. 

The most fun part of the trip was Tuesday morning when we went rafting on the Colorado River. It was a wet ride down the river with lots of laughter and water fights (we splashed other rafts with the extra paddles).  Several of us had never been rafting before so it was a whole new experience for us. Another fun event was a presentation on raptors and avian protection by HawkQuest. This speaker talked about hunting techniques and different body shapes of the Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, and Hawk. He told stories and did demonstrations about birds. They even took the hawk off its tether to show us how its flight patterns changed depending on how far it had to fly. 

I am so grateful to everyone involved in making the week fun. Thank you to the camp counselors, the ambassadors, and all the other students for making the week fun and encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone. 


Essay by Virginia Parsons