October is Co-op Month. Celebrate your membership!

    Turn on a switch. You’ve got electric power for everything: entertainment, cooking, cooling, lighting, heating and more.

    As a member of an electric cooperative, you get even more when you turn on that switch. You get a say in how your co-op is run. As a member you can help to elect a board member to represents your interest. Not everyone who receives electricity from Hendricks Power may realize or fully understand what that membership means. Co-Op Month, celebrated every October, puts the spotlight on membership in a cooperative.

    The idea is as basic as neighbors gathering for a chat around someone’s kitchen table. People come together, talk about how they can make something happen, and set about doing it cooperatively. Co-ops have been a successful model for everything from electric power to gardens, grocery stores, credit unions, child care, insurance companies and many other businesses.

    Focus on Members
    In some business models, investors and profits are top priorities.

    In a cooperative, membership is open and voluntary, and all members get an equal say.

    When we elect members to the board, they are folks we know and live near - the fellow you see with his kids at the 4-H Fair or a woman you volunteer with in the school system. Every member gets to vote for the board, with all votes equal.

    Model for Success
    Members especially benefit from a co-op’s business model, which guarantees that the co-op remains autonomous from others, able to act independently and in the best interests of its members. That fourth principle is an important tradition and practice.

    Co-ops also make education, training and information sharing top priorities for members, employees and government and community leaders. What we learn, we share. What we gain, we share. That’s the meaning of the word ‘cooperative.’

    That fifth principle works hand-in-hand with the sixth, when co-ops extend sharing to relationships with other cooperatives, bringing benefits for everyone involved.

    That’s true for Indiana Electric Cooperatives who participate in the Touchstone Energy® Cooperative, sharing resources and benefits.

    Concern for Community
    While each principle carries its weight, the seventh, concern for community, bears the biggest heart.

    For electric co-ops, that means close-to-home activities. Being at the table when economic development projects are discussed. Serving on the boards of social service organizations. Participating in various community events to help others.

    Throughout Indiana, for example, electric co-op members are rounding up their bills to the next highest dollar to pool their pennies to help community nonprofits. Some are funding environmental projects. Others are taking safety demonstrations on the road, to schools and county fairs. Could your organization benefit from Operation Round Up funds? Go to http://www.hendrickspower.com/community-outreach/Default.aspx?id=24 to learn more.

    Whatever the local needs, we try to play a role, lend a helping hand.


    About Heather Thompson

    Heather is the Communications Manager at Hendricks Power.

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