OPALCO Student Ambassadors Bring Home Honors

Six high-school students from San Juan County participated in the Idaho Consumer-Owned Utility Association (ICUA) Youth Rally through Orcas Power & Light’s scholarship program. Two of the students brought home top scholarships from the ICUA, and all of the students were excellent ambassadors for OPALCO and for San Juan County.

The students selected as OPALCO’s Nourdine Jensen Cooperative Youth (NJCY) Scholarship award winners are: Cameron Schuh (Orcas), Marné Cook and Joe O’Bryant (Lopez), and Paige Carlson and Me’Tairie Kilpatrick-Boe (San Juan Island). Connar Smith, of San Juan Island, returned as a Youth Director at the Rally, a week-long leadership camp at the College of Idaho. Connar traveled to Idaho in March to plan the programming for the Rally. Cameron Schuh received the top scholarship award of $500 and was elected Youth Director for the 2013 program. Joe O’Bryant received a $400 scholarship and Marné Cook received a $100 award.

“This was such a valuable experience,” said NJCY Scholarship Program Coordinator and Youth Rally Chaperone Suzanne Olson. “It’s great to see our students from three islands connect with each other primarily – rising above football rivalries and perceived differences between island cultures. They then mix in with about 100 peers from rural co-ops all over the western states, really shine in their leadership activities and are recognized for their efforts. These students are getting a good head start on their young adult lives.”

The students participated in forums with regional leaders from the power industry, learned the basics of electricity and how co-ops work from the grassroots up – and then put their knowledge to work in team building exercises and games. The classroom time was balanced with fun summer camp activities such as bowling, roller-skating, social dances and a day at a water park. Check out a slide show of the 2012 Youth Rally on flickr.

“This was a life-changing experience,” reported Cameron Schuh. “I met so many new and interesting people and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I recommend this program to any upcoming sophomore or junior.”

OPALCO’s Nourdine Jensen Cooperative Youth Scholarship Program is open to sophomores and juniors of OPALCO member households. It includes a $500 OPALCO scholarship award, an all-expenses paid trip to the Youth Rally in Idaho and the chance to compete for additional scholarship awards at the Rally. More information is available online. Applications for the 2013 program will be accepted beginning in January 2013.