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Credit unions contribute to success of Cooperative Leadership Camp

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Cooperative Leadership Camp included a mix of fun and education
at White Lake, NC June 19-23. See the highlights in pictures in the
above slide show. 

Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative principles by working with other cooperatives through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.

Nearly 40 teens experienced a fun and interactive week in White Lake during the Cooperative Leadership Camp (CLC) held June 19-23 in White Lake, NC. Credit unions in North Carolina contributed to the success of the camp as well as the educational opportunities provided to the campers.    

A program of the Cooperative Council of North Carolina (CCNC), CLC educates rising sophomores, juniors and seniors about the cooperative business model and how it is designed to function in a free market economy. Campers learn by doing in that they organize a tee-shirt cooperative through the week, and practice the Seven Cooperative Principles in their decision-making. 

This was the 62nd Cooperative Leadership Camp in North Carolina. "We had such a terrific group of campers this year and as always, we had tremendous support and engagement from our cooperative members," shared CCNC Executive Director Emily Nail.   

Credit unions supported CLC in a variety of ways, including sponsoring a combined 11 teens who participated in the camp. Sponsoring credit unions & credit union organizations included: the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, the Carolinas Credit Union League. Coastal Credit Union, Local Government FCU and Riegelwood FCU.

Ty Randleman (left), one of the attendees of Cooperative Leadership Camp, discussing which car he will buy as part of Coastal Credit Union's Mad City Money simulation. The "car salesman" is Kyle Randleman of Star Communications, who is Ty's father.  

Credit unions also contributed to the educational experience at the camp. Coastal Credit Union volunteers taught the teens real-life money and budgeting skills through the Mad City Money simulation. Campers were given an adult profile and navigated a series of stations where they made spending and budgeting choices.  

On Tuesday, Jeff Hardin of the CCUL taught the Seven Cooperative Principles to the group. Hardin also shared the governance structure of the tee-shirt cooperative, plus the responsibilities & roles of each camper in making sure the co-op operated smoothly and in line with the principles of equality, democracy and mutual self-help.

The campers took their Seven Cooperative Principles education and, in seven smaller groups, developed fun and informative "infomercials" about each principle. These fun skits were presented by the teens on Wednesday evening.   

The tee-shirt cooperative organized by the teens functions much like any other worker-owner cooperative. Each camper was a part owner of the cooperative and worked collectively to elect a board of directors. Other campers served in management positions and implemented the vision and strategy of the board. The worker-owners combined their talents to create tee-shirt designs. From there, one design was chosen for the shirts and the group produced shirts for each camper.   

In addition to credit unions, electric and telephone cooperatives, food cooperatives and the NC Grange supported the camp and contributed to the week of learning for the teens. "One of the great things about camp is that it is truly a cooperative effort," shared Nail. "It is always inspiring to see how cooperatives statewide embrace the opportunity to educate and inspire teens." 

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