by | Jun 22, 2021

My wife likes to give me a hard time for being so giddy when holidays come around. In my opinion, holidays were created for celebrating, even if that means putting on my old beat-up Easter Bunny costume or dressing as a leprechaun to hand out gold coins at Max and Charlie’s school.

On our nation’s birthday, you will likely find me proudly wearing the red, white and blue while dragging the rest of the family — sometimes kicking and screaming — into the spirit. Fourth of July for the Jones family usually involves a few burnt hot dogs on the grill, fireworks and jumping into some water. It could be a dip in the pond or lake but we have also been known to sneak into the neighbors’ pool if they aren’t home.

This time of year, I have an almost unlimited list of opportunities to celebrate including events like the Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival in California, Missouri or any one of the local county fairs where I once showed animals.  

You may have figured it out already, but for me, there is nothing better than a good celebration. If you can’t embrace those special days to enjoy with friends and family, what’s the point of working so hard on the other days?

Your electric co-op looks at its annual meeting the same way. You can bet the co-op staff starts looking at ways to make next year’s celebration even better about one week after the current meeting is in the books. They share ideas with other co-ops, especially when they find an amazing local band that kept folks on their feet dancing and tapping toes with the beat. It seems like every year co-ops work harder to make that year’s annual meeting the “best one ever.”

Co-op annual meetings aren’t just about fun. The purpose of the annual meeting is to take care of the business of the cooperative. Directors are elected. The manager gives highlights of the cooperative’s year. But when the work of the co-op is done and the meeting adjourns, the celebration begins.  

Without annual meetings, it would be pretty easy to forget what makes co-ops great: A co-op is owned by the people it serves because no one else would serve them. Just like with every success story in America, cooperative member-owners weren’t handed an electric grid on a silver platter. It took work — hours upon hours, days upon days of family, friends and neighbors rolling up their sleeves — to make sure rural America wasn’t left behind.  

When it’s time for your local co-op annual meeting, I hope you join all of the other member-owners to take part in the business of the co-op. But equally important, take a little time to enjoy yourself. If you ask me, Missouri’s electric cooperatives aren’t in the electricity business, they are in the quality-of-life business … and that is a pretty good reason to celebrate. 

Caleb is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Boone Electric Cooperative.

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