July 19, 2012 9:32:53 AM
A group of 99 Mississippi 4-H leaders received a lesson Tuesday at the 4-County Electric Power Association corporate office.
The cooperative hosted the group, comprised of first-place winners in senior level competition at this year's 4-H Congress, state awareness team members and state 4-H Council officers.
Young leaders got a first-hand look at cooperative hospitality, as they were treated to breakfast at 4-County's Corporate Center Pavilion and later viewed a hot line demonstration. Mitchell Young of Oktibbeha County, a junior at Starkville High School, was visibly impressed.
"It was cool," Young said of the hot line demonstration. "I learned some good tips about electricity. It definitely woke me up. And breakfast was special, too."
Aleah Jamison, a junior at New Hope High School, also learned valuable lessons.
"It was very interesting," she said. "I have new respect for being safe around power lines."
Harvey Gordon, 4-H youth development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the July 18-21 4-H Cooperative Leadership Conference allows "the best of the best" of our youth to experience the real business of cooperatives. "Our objective is to provide an opportunity for the young leaders in Mississippi to experience the cooperative form of business. We look to enhance their leadership skills," Gordon said.
He explained 4-County was one of several cooperatives statewide the group planned to visit.
"We call the 4-County experience the breakfast of champions. You get us off to a great start. Without you, it's impossible for us to have a successful event. The 4-County team provides tremendous support for this youth leadership conference," he said, noting the group also visited with legislators in Jackson.
4-County officials believe the relationship with 4-H is beneficial for both parties.
"4-County thinks it's important to support groups like 4-H," said Jon Turner, 4-County marketing and public relations director. "Our staff was impressed by the quality of the young people in this year's group. If they are the leaders of tomorrow, it looks like the world will be in good hands."
During the week, the group elected a board of directors and formed their own cooperative, which they operated during the tour.
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