By Josh P. Crotzer
Running a company is in Addie Ferrell’s blood. Now it’s on her resume.
Ferrell, a rising senior at Clover High School and one of the three student delegates representing York Electric Cooperative on Washington Youth Tour, was selected by her peers as the manager of the Soda Pop Co-op during the trip. Arnav Goel of Fort Mill and Andy Goss of York were also sponsored by YEC.
“My mom, uncle and grandpa own a forklift business,” says Ferrell. “I’ve always looked up to them and want to go into the business world. When I found out that I could be a manager for the cooperative, I was excited to apply some of my knowledge and use it in a different way.”
The Soda Pop Co-op is a student-run co-op that sold snacks and beverages to the 59 delegates on the trip sponsored by electric cooperatives across South Carolina. Ferrell was chosen by a co-op board, helped set the prices for the products and administered sales. As member- consumers, the students each received $7 in capital credits, their share of the co-op’s end-of- trip margins. The exercise allowed the students to learn first-hand how the not- for-profit co-op business model works.
“I learned that one of the most vital things is communication,” says Ferrell. “It’s important that we listen to our customers because it’s their company. We can come together and use everybody’s opinion to make the best business possible.”
Much of the Washington Youth Tour experience, an all- expenses-paid trip that included visits to historical and educational sites like George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, was similarly hands-on. When visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the students were provided names of soldiers from their hometowns to etch off the wall. When they went to the U.S. Capitol Building, they visited Rep. Ralph Norman’s office, spoke with members of his staff and engaged in question-and-answer sessions with the congressman on the Capitol steps.
“Just seeing the Lincoln Memorial and all the things he worked for, stood out to me,” says Goss, a rising senior at York Comprehensive High. “Washington has so much to offer, and I thank York Electric for giving me this opportunity.”
South Carolina’s youth tourists were not the only student delegates in Washington. They were among more than 1,500 representing electric cooperatives across the nation. The students traded their state pins with one another and went on a riverboat dinner cruise along the Potomac River. Students from across the country also gathered for National Youth Day where they learned about the rich history of electric cooperatives and the important role of being an active participant in our democracy.