Being part of a cooperative means being part of something special. Wheatland Electric is celebrating National Cooperative Month in October, along with 40,000 other cooperative businesses serving more than 120 million people nationwide. “Cooperatives Build” is the theme of this year’s National Cooperative Month.
“This year’s theme is excellent, because there are so many ways that cooperatives help to build a stronger rural America,” says Bruce Mueller, Wheatland general manager. “Our cooperative is intertwined with the communities we serve, from the people we employ, to the various organizations and events we support, all the way down to the electricity we deliver to our members. Every day we work together with our members and those communities to build a stronger, brighter tomorrow.”
Consider these ways that cooperatives build:
Cooperatives Build Trust
Most co-ops strive to adhere to seven key cooperative principles, which combine to help build trust between the co-op, its members and the community. For example, the first principle is Voluntary and Open Membership, which means that we are a voluntary organization open to all people who use our services. The second principle, Democratic Member Control, gives members a voice in the cooperative’s policies and decisions through the election of a board of trustees who represent their membership. Through the fifth principle, Education, Training and Information, we enable members to contribute to the development of our cooperative. Each year, Wheatland hosts a series of member engagement meetings where members learn new programs and initiatives of the coop and have the opportunity to ask questions and provide valuable member feedback.
Cooperatives Build Community
The seventh cooperative principle is Concern for Community. Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through employee involvement in local organizations, through charitable contributions to community efforts and through support for schools. Wheatland offers a variety of community programs that help to strengthen our communities.
Wheatland’s Sharing Success program donates $10,000 each year to worthy non-profit organizations in our service territory, this is a chance for Wheatland to share its own financial stability with non-profit organizations.You can join us right now for our Cram-the-Van Food Drive. We travel across our service territory collecting donations for the local food banks. Another way Wheatland supports our communities is through our youth programs. Our youth programs consist of the Washington, D.C., Youth Tour and Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Each year, Wheatland sends two high school juniors on the Washington D.C. trip and one to the Colorado camp, based off of a competitive selection process.
One of the more-widely known ways Wheatland supports its communities is by providing bottled water for certain community events. A stock of bottled water is kept on hand to donate to community groups for their events. Wheatland donates thousands of bottles of water to organizations and communities each year. These are just a few of the many ways Wheatland helps to build the communities we serve.
Cooperatives Build Jobs
Cooperatives generate jobs in their communities, keep profits local and pay local taxes to help support community services. Cooperatives often take part in community improvement programs, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience. With close to 150 employees living in the communities we serve, Wheatland jobs help to provide a solid foundation for a stronger tomorrow in rural America.
Cooperatives Build a Better World
Through all of these ways, cooperatives build a better world. A world where neighbors help neighbors, small towns thrive and the values your grandparents taught you are still the rule of the day.