Co-Mo Electric Cooperative is extending power in a different way for some area children.
Cooperative representatives are visiting area 4-H camps this summer to help local youth build their own extension cords.
Co-Mo Energy Services Advisor Tom Hulse and Communications Manager John Agliata visited Heit's Point camp on June 12, and helped 4-H campers from Cooper County with the project. Today (Wednesday) they will be joined by other Co-Mo employees at Camp Cloverpoint to help campers from Morgan and Moniteau counties. Co-Mo will return to Cloverpoint June 25 for campers from Miller County and then travel to Camp Windermere July 18 for youth from Camden County.
"It's great to see the look on the kids' faces when they finish their cord and test it and it works," Hulse said. "It's just amazing to some of them that they can really wire something and it functions."
The camp sessions are run by Co-Mo Education Specialist Keith Mueller, who walks the campers step-by-step through the process of taking the pieces that make up the cord all the way to the finished product. Meanwhile, cooperative employees help out where needed and spend time interacting with the campers.
"That's the best part," Agliata said. "Just getting to be goofy with the kids, talk to them about their lives and their camp experience, make jokes with them; the hope is to leave them with a positive impression of their electric cooperative."
Co-Mo has been a part of this outreach for more than a decade. The effort is in keeping with one of the seven cooperative principles - education, outreach and information.
"That's one of the great things about being an electric cooperative," Agliata said. "We are able to do these outreach activities for no other reason than because it's the right thing to do and because we care about the communities we serve."
Co-Mo's educational outreach isn't limited to the summer. Mueller and fellow Education Specialist Stan Varner spend the school year visiting area classrooms teaching electric safety and energy efficiency. They also visit community organizations and other gatherings to teach these topics and more.
In addition, this year Co-Mo launched an effort to train area firefighters about electric safety in their jobs. These on-site training classes have been taught around the Co-Mo service territory and go with a recently launched quarterly firefighter-safety newsletter Co-Mo is sending to all area fire stations.
"These are our communities, not just places where we work," said Safety Coordinator Jimmy Jester, who has spearheaded the firefighter training initiative. "The firefighters are our members, our friends, our neighbors, so anything we can do to help keep them be safe is a good thing."
Anyone wishing to schedule a training or education session of any kind is encouraged to contact Agliata at 800-781-0157 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.