Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative sent Jim McPherson, Carroll EMC System Design Technician and his wife, Beth, to the recent annual Georgia Cooperative Council
Couples Conference. The conference is a three-day event where couples across the state visit the North Georgia Mountains to learn more about the impact of cooperatives at the local, state and national level.
This year’s couples travelled to The Ridges Resort and Marina in Hiawassee, Georgia on August 3-5 for a weekend of fun, fellowship and learning. Carroll EMC is proud to send couples to the conference because they learn about the work and impact of financial, dairy and electric membership cooperatives in the state and enjoy a relaxing getaway.
“Our goal is to provide our employees with opportunities to learn and engage with one another,” says Tim Martin, CEO of Carroll EMC. “We wanted to provide a better understanding of the impact and potential of cooperatives in local communities. This is accomplished at the Co-op Council Couples Conference each year.”
All of the conference activities and sessions are aimed at helping enhance the communication and leadership skills of attending couples. The positive, intimate environment fostered dialogue between residents and local EMC leaders.
Throughout the weekend, couples participated in short, but educational sessions that were led by the Georgia Cooperative Development Center, Georgia EMC, Dairy Farmers of America, AgGeorgia Farm Credit and AgSouth Farm Credit. The five cooperative sessions placed a special focus on the seven cooperative principles that apply to all business cooperatives, which include voluntary and open membership, democratic membership control, Members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, education and training for Members, cooperation between co-ops and concern for local communities.
The McPhersons and other attending couples not only learned about co-ops through sit-down sessions, but also through experience. The group travelled to Young Harris to visit Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and tour the facilities to see how a local EMC functions. “It was awesome to see the impact that co-ops have on our nation and state, giving people in rural areas access to commodities that we otherwise wouldn’t have,” says McPherson. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to attend this retreat. It was a fun and informative experience.”
The 2018 Cooperative Council Couples Conference was made possible by generous support from the electric cooperatives of Georgia, the Georgia Cooperative Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Georgia Cooperative Development Center.