It’s hard to improve on some Iowa State Fair originals – corn dogs, cotton candy, lemonade shake-ups (we all have our favorite stand) – but when it comes to the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives of Iowa booth located in the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Building, some updating was in order.
“It was time for a change,” said Director of Communications Erin Campbell. “We want to make vibrant connections to member-consumers and deliver a message about the cooperative difference.”
The refreshed Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Iowa State Fair booth highlights Youth Tour and cooperative careers, programs with appeal to the more youthful audience present in the 4-H building. Building on the opportunity to educate students, parents and grandparents will also learn more about these cooperative programs. The new display features graphics and videos from this year’s Youth Tour, along with NIPCO’s award-winning virtual reality video, Lineman 360. In addition, Youth Tour alumni, line workers, and cooperative staff will volunteer in the booth in order to make personal connections with visitors.
“Making co-op member-consumers and the public aware of these opportunities for young people is part of the cooperative difference,” said Dawn Sly-Terpstra, Vice President of Communications, Central Iowa Power Cooperative. “We also plan to make more powerful direct connections by adding electronic forms of communication for people who want to participate.”
Booth visitors interested in learning more about these programs will connect using iPads, also a new feature in this year’s booth. A request for more information will generate both a link to the IAEC's landing page and will generate an email to co-ops letting them know the user is interested in knowing more about Youth Tour or cooperative careers. An opportunity for co-ops to follow-up facilitates engagement.
“We’re excited about creating our own young adult member engagement program here in Iowa,” said Ryan Cornelius, Vice President of Corporate Relations at Corn Belt Power Cooperative. “This should be the start of making some meaningful connections between co-ops and their members.”
“NIPCO is thrilled to share our new Lineman 360 video to help educate students and their parents about this important cooperative career,” said Angela Catton, Manager of Member Relations and Development for Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO). “The more we can do to raise the level of awareness about line worker education, the brighter our futures will be as cooperatives.”
A ribbon-cutting for the new booth will take place on August 9.