Co-op Camp turns 90

The Saskatchewan Co-operative Youth Program, also known as Co-op Camp, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

The program, which has had over 44,000 participants in the past nine decades, instills leadership, self-confidence and co-op values into kids. Kids also get to learn about how a co-operative runs and how to get involved in the community, as well as participate in typical summer camp activities like canoeing, swimming and volleyball.

“We are pleased to see that young people are learning not only about the values and benefits of co-operatives, but are building their interpersonal skills and leadership abilities,” chair of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association board Jim Dean said in a press release.

The camps ran in July and August at Candle Lake and Last Mountain Lake. Participants pay a $250 fee and must find a local co-operative to sponsor the remaining $475. Each camp runs for about five days.

Camp attendees have ended up working in co-operatives and credit unions. Scott Banda, a camp alumni, is now the CEO of Federated Co-operatives Limited.

“Most of all I met many new people with diverse perspectives and clearly learned that more can be accomplished by working together. All of this has inspired my career and has remained foundational to the work I do today,” he said.