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LPEA seeking applicants for Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp

La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is seeking high school juniors to participate in the Colorado Electric Education Institute (CEEI) Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp — an all-expenses paid educational/leadership camp set for July 10-15 at Glen Eden Resort outside of Steamboat Springs, Colo. Deadline for application is Monday, Jan. 10.

For nearly 30 years, the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp has brought together some 100 high school students selected by electric cooperatives in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming to help build the leadership skills that will assist them in meeting the challenges of the future, plus learn about the organization and operation of a cooperative.

“We’ve found that the Leadership Camp is a valuable experience for the students,” said Greg Munro, CEO. “It’s a hands-on, learn by doing effort. Our society is becoming increasingly competitive, so experiences like this truly help those participants who apply themselves achieve greater confidence and leadership abilities that will benefit them in the future.”

On Day One at camp, students form a “cooperative” like LPEA, and elect a board of directors. Each member of the cooperative is expected to take part in the workings of the co-op by seeking election to the board or by serving on one of the camp activity committees — including organizing the closing night banquet and dance, designed to cement new friendships. Students also participate in a legislative simulation and meet with state congressmen and lobbyists.

In July 2010, LPEA Project Specialist Ray Pierotti served as a camp adviser, joining area students Cory Kerns of Durango and Mele LeLievre of Pagosa Springs at the Leadership Camp.

“Last year was my second year as a camp ‘chaperone,’” said Pierotti, who hopes to attend in 2011 as well. “It’s difficult to explain the experience — it’s almost a ‘you-had-to-be-there’ type of thing, but the kids who come to the camp really do learn a great deal and it’s amazing to watch how much they grow in such a short period of time. The leadership, team building and motivation sessions complement the other activities.”

All area high school juniors who receive their electric power from LPEA are eligible to participate in the 2011 camp. LPEA endeavors to sponsor one student from each municipality — Durango, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and Ignacio, and home-school students are also eligible.

To be considered, students are asked to complete the Leadership Camp application and submit it to LPEA, along with a 500-word essay reflecting the student’s personal perspective on leadership. Participants will be selected based on their essays, to be reviewed by an independent committee.

Applications are available on the LPEA website,, from high school counselors or at the LPEA Durango and Pagosa Springs offices. For further camp information or questions, contact Ray Pierotti, 382-7770, or