Twice a year, Baldwin EMC closes its offices so that employees can take part in mandatory all-day training. This is one of many opportunities the co-op takes to ensure we continue to operate as safely, efficiently and effectively as possible.
This past February, we decided to change up the traditional schedule of our semi-annual Training Day. After spending the morning in classes and seminars, we dedicated the rest of the day to a different kind of instructional opportunity – that of servant leadership.
Over the course of an afternoon, our nearly 200 employees contributed a total of 400 hours to community service. After participating in activities that ranged from assembling pet blankets for an animal shelter to painting a gazebo for a local school to moving office furniture for a nearby charitable organization, by the end of the day our hands were tired, but our hearts were full.
“Being community minded is part of our vision statement, and it’s a value we expect from every single one of our employees,” said Vice President of Corporate Services and Public Relations Mark Ingram. “We, of course, think about our community every day in terms of providing electricity to homes and businesses, but this event was about serving our neighbors on a completely different level. A couple of hours at the end of the day may not seem like a huge time commitment for one person, but when you multiply it by our entire co-op, we were able to accomplish a lot of projects. The organizations we helped were thankful, but I think some of the biggest smiles came from our very own employees.”
“It was very rewarding to shift the focus at the end of Training Day to community service,” said Manager of Training and Development Melissa Vaughn. “A large percentage of our employees are already plugged in to the community through their volunteer efforts with various charitable organizations and civic groups, but this was an opportunity for everyone to give back alongside their co-workers. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of the day was seeing employees from different departments work side by side on a project. That interdepartmental interaction was just an added bonus to the charitable mission of the day.”
Every Baldwin EMC employee is granted eight hours (or one full work day) each calendar year to participate in a community service project. However, designing this event around a couple of hours across many service projects, and involving everyone working together, provided a different dynamic with additional benefits.
“Our project was installing a door frame to the gym at Summerdale School,” said Facilities Management Specialist Ray Bishop. “I enjoyed the project because not only were we helping the school, but I felt like I was teaching my co-workers how to use some tool skills that they could then take home with them. These were a couple of guys I don’t normally work with day-to-day, and we had a really good time together. I think we got a lot out of it on different levels, and we helped the community in the process. I hope our service day becomes a regular event.”