Cooperative Leadership Camp Gives Students Fun, Hands-on Learning Experience

Macy_Riffle“My favorite event at camp was the ‘Amazing Co-op Race’ that we all participated in as teams. Because of my medical problems, I have always felt that I’ve limited my abilities to do so much. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up and that I would ultimately let my team down, but I was determined to try my hardest and enjoy every moment of it. By the time we made it to the pier, which was close to the very last part of the race, I felt that I couldn’t go on without my chest exploding or my eyes going dark with me falling. Before I could even sit for a second, my teammates pulled me up by my arms and never left my side as we ran to the finish line. I wouldn’t have known just how much I could do if it wasn’t for their help and encouragement. This was the moment that I realized just how truly great these people are.” – Macy Riffle – 2015 Camper

More and more people continue to discover the power of the cooperative business model as a means for solving community challenges. However, since co-ops are businesses, education & networking is vitally important so that people have the tools and means to successfully plan and organize new co-ops (not to mention taking existing co-ops to new heights).

Many educational programs of this type are aimed at adults, but the Cooperative Leadership Camp (CLC) is one great exception to that rule. Hosted each year by the Cooperative Council of North Carolina, CLC provides high school sophomores, juniors and seniors with a dynamic five day learning experience.

The aim of the camp is to educate students about the cooperative way of doing business and teach leadership skills. One of the fun and more engaging parts of the camp experience comes in the organization of a tee-shirt cooperative during the session.

“Cooperative Leadership Camp is a high energy, intensive, hands-on educational opportunity for high schoolers from across our state,” said Emily Nail, the executive director of the Cooperative Council. “The teens get to build and run a co-op including board elections, annual meeting and production of a co-op. With workshops sponsored and conducted by NC State, co-op leaders from across the state, and Council staff, this is truly an incredible opportunity for learning the cooperative life!”

The Cooperative Council is currently seeking sponsors in order to offer the camp experience to the students free of charge. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Emily Nail (

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