Fitting in and being part of the group can be challenging for anyone, especially high school students.

It is this sense of belonging, of being part of something bigger, that sets electric cooperatives apart from other utilities.

The Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, aims to bring high school students together in a collaborative setting to learn the cooperative principles while cultivating the students’ leadership and teamwork skills.

This year’s camp hosted 37 Kansas high school students and other hand-picked scholars from Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming from July 13-19.

Victory Electric is pleased to have sponsored Dodge City students Aria Knedler and Alejandro Rangel for this leadership opportunity.

At camp, the youth gained a greater understanding of how their electric cooperative operates by creating a candy cooperative.

The students learned leadership and teamwork skills while participating in daily membership meetings, establishing committees, and electing a general manager and board of directors.

They also learned about power generation by touring both Trapper Mine, a surface coal mine, and the neighboring Craig Station Power Plant.

"Students are selected based on their leadership potential," said Jerri Imgarten, Victory Electric vice president of communications. "This includes their academic achievements and community and extra-curricular activities, along with their attitude when faced with adversity."

While at camp, students participated in group activities and educational sessions while learning the importance of inclusivity and collaboration.

"I wish I would have known that it would be so easy to connect with all of the other campers," Knedler said. "We are all so similar, yet different, and so eager to meet new people."

Even the scheduled leisure activities offered learning opportunities as the students worked together maneuvering their river rafts down the Colorado River, competed in a volleyball tournament and showcased their entertaining skills at the annual talent show.

The students also toured downtown Steamboat Springs, enjoyed an evening dance and swimming.

"Coming from Dodge City, ‘the largest’ town in the group, I had never experienced being with a group from small towns which was definitely an interesting experience," Rangel said. "Comparing and contrasting our different attitudes, communities, and schools was fun considering the difference in culture."

Victory Electric sponsors the Youth Tour each year as part of our strong commitment to the community and our mission to inspire the future generations to become leaders.

For more information on the program or how to apply, please visit

The Victory Electric Cooperative Assn., Inc., a member-owned electric distribution cooperative, is headquartered in Dodge City and serves all or parts of nine counties in southwest Kansas.

Victory was organized in 1945 to serve farm residential services. Through the years, Victory has expanded to a broad consumer base of diversified loads ranging from industrial, commercial and irrigation loads with more than 3,200 miles of transmission and distribution line.

For more information visit Victory’s website at, or