May 30, 2018

SIU hosts the 2018 Illinois Cooperative Council Youth Conference next week

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill — High school students from across the state will gather next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to learn about and gain first-hand experience with a variety of cooperative businesses.

The College of Agricultural Sciences, in collaboration with the Illinois Cooperative Council, hosts the 2018 Cooperative Youth Conference on June 7-8. This event will give students a behind-the-scenes look into several cooperative businesses, along with practical training to equip them for future careers.

“The Illinois Cooperative Council is proud to continue its tradition of partnership with SIU and the College of Agricultural Sciences in hosting students on campus to learn more about the cooperative business model. For two days, high school students from mainly rural areas of the state participate in group activities and visit local cooperative businesses to better understand how co-ops contribute to local economies and provide a variety of products and services based on the needs of the members,” Beth Bolger, co-chair for the Illinois Cooperative Council, said.

A variety of activities and experiences

With the help of many generous sponsors, the camp will feature a variety of interesting events which include:

  • Scavenger hunt across the SIU Carbondale campus.
  • Scheduled Student Recreation Center time.
  • Live wire demonstration from the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative.
  • Guided tour and teaching through the Neighborhood Co-op Grocery.
  • Group presentations on the eight fundamentals of cooperatives.
  • Various events to win “co-op dollars”.

A taste of college life

The camp will also allow students to experience a bit of the college life by exploring the area and staying in campus housing. Present and past SIU students will chaperone during these times, while faculty and staff serve as instructors.

Camp is also for high school agriculture teachers

While the students are learning new things, high school agriculture teachers from across the state will also gather for special trainings and workshops. This will allow students to continue their education regarding cooperatives when high school classes resume in the fall.

Students from schools including Mount Vernon Township High School, Carbondale Community High School and other more rural areas of the state will participate.

Registration is still open, but spots are filling fast. You can find more information on the Southern Illinois University website or register directly online at

To learn more

For additional information, contact Jackie Welch at 618/536-7751 or email