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For Caleb Sarsland, from Bowman High School, an opportunity to travel and learn about our nation’s capital, is what persuade him to apply for the North Dakota Youth Tour.  “I was interested in the youth tour, because I’ve never been to the nations capital and it is an opportunity of a life time,” said Sarsland.

His knowledge, research and time he spent writing an essay won him an all expense trip to Washington, D.C, to see our nation’s capital through the NRECA Youth Tour.

Each year, Slope Electric holds a contest to select one local sophomore or junior high school student to attend the NRECA Youth Tour. The winner will travel with other North Dakota teens, and join 1,400 students from across the nation during the Youth Tour. Participants will learn about cooperatives, visit with legislators at the Capitol, see the national monuments, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people and just bringing in everything the experience has to offer. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to bring it all in!,” he said.

Meet Caleb

Caleb is the son of Slope members, Curt and Jennifer Sarsland. “We live kind of in the middle of nowhere on a ranch – and I love it,” said Caleb.

Caleb stays involved in his community and is involved in many extracurricular activities including cross country, wrestling, and track and field. In addition, he coaches baseball in the summer.  In his free time, Caleb stays busy. “I love going camping with my family in the summer and skiing in the winter. I also enjoy helping on the ranch and helping my mom at her dentist office,” he said.

Winning Essay
Caleb wrote the winning essay, centered around the question: If you were asked to help promote your cooperative’s annual meeting, what ideas do you have for increasing attendance among you member-owners and students?

See what Caleb had to say below.

Improving Annual Cooperative Meeting Attendance

There are a couple of ways to improve attendance of young members and students for events such as the cooperative’s annual membership meeting. I think by having three simple steps, providing free meal, having a speaker, and finishing it off with door prizes, your attendance will improve in great measures not only with young members and students, but all members.

First, you must make sure everyone knows the specifics and when the meeting is; because if nobody knows about it, they definitely aren’t going to show up. Not many young people read the newspaper anymore, so by spreading the message on E-mail, Facebook, and Twitter you can reach a lot of young people. By making posts the news will spread fast. E-mailing cooperative members about the meeting and what’s taking place at the meeting would probably be the best way to get people to know about the meeting and actually show up to. Also, making eye catching fliers and dropping them off in local businesses around town. A great business to drop the fliers off would be the grocery store; you could ask them to hand them out at the check-out lines to make sure people get them. However, personal contact is still one of the most effective ways to get to people, so by telling workers/members to bring a friend to the meeting will also improve attendance. This leads to the three simple steps to get more people to attend the meeting.

You must keep it somewhat simple; you can’t go overboard with ideas. That’s what led me to my three simple steps. First, by having a free meal parents are going to take their kids/students to the meeting for supper. You can’t have a horrible meal it has to be something good and simple. Make hamburgers or roast beef, and have some sides like potatoes, salad, etcetera. Don’t forget dessert, have cookies or something like that. People love a free meal and will be hooked right away. Second, have a comedian or a guest speaker talk during the supper for entertainment. People will be able to enjoy their food and have a good laugh. People won’t want to miss out on what jokes the comedian has. Third, as people walk in the doors, have them put their name on a card and into a box. Then at the end of the meeting draw names for door prizes. People will want a chance to win, and they will stay for the whole meeting to see if they win anything. Make the door prizes simple too, like local gift cards, discounts on their cooperative memberships, and have one big final one such as a gun or something big.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure people keep coming every year. During the meeting, you won’t want to be boring. Make good points on what your telling people about and have a good representative speak on your behalf. Make sure to thank everyone for coming at the end of it all and tell them to come back next year. Overall, I think these are the best and yet still simple ways to get more people to come to your annual membership meeting and want to keep coming back.

Thank you for this opportunity.