Congratulations 2017 Youth Tour Winners

Youth Tour Coordinator, Dee Longoria and Energy Services Supervisor, Rae Gorman congratulate Rylee Waller for being selected as a Youth Tour recipient.

Christian Hernandez, Kris Wagner, Rylee Waller and Makalah Henke were selected to represent Pioneer Electric on this year’s Youth Tours. The students will be joining other representatives from across the state and country on two all-expense-paid trips in June and July.

Waller and Wagner will represent Southern Pioneer Electric at the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., June 8-15. During their stay, they will tour the Smithsonian Museums, have breakfast with legislators on Capitol Hill, take a night tour of the memorials, and take a dance cruise on the Potomac River.

Henke and Hernandez will travel to the Rocky Mountains on the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp from July 14-20. Set in beautiful Steamboat Springs, CO, the camp allows students from Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Wyoming to grow and develop their leadership skills together in a fun and active setting. Our representatives will enjoy white water rafting on the Colorado River, touring the Trapper Coal Mine and Craig Generation Plant, visiting Mt. Werner, and participating in a variety of camp activities.

Photos of Christian Hernandez, Makalah Henke, Rylee Waller and Kris Wagner.
Christian Hernandez, Makalah Henke, Rylee Waller and Kris Wagner were selected to represent Pioneer Electric on this year’s Youth Tours.

“Congratulations to each of our winners,” said Dee Longoria, Southern Pioneer’s Youth Tour Coordinator. “I’m proud of all four students and I know that they will be wonderful representatives of the Cooperative.”

Both tours are sponsored by Southern Pioneer Electric Cooperative and Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., of Topeka.


Southern Pioneer Electric H.U.G.S. Team Presents Check for Storm Shelter

February 2, 2017– Representatives from Southern Pioneer Electric’s (Helping Us Give to Society) or H.U.G.S. team, presented Friends of Arkalon Park, Inc. with a $3,700 grant for the development of a tornado shelter at the Arkalon Park Campgrounds.  The $3,700 grant is planned to be put towards the development of an above ground shelter that will be able to house 8-16 people during a storm situation. The park sits approximately 11 miles east of Liberal and has accommodations for 29 campsites with hookups. During its active season, campers enjoy fishing, camping and holding gatherings at the campsite. However, the Park board saw the need for the development of a storm shelter to protect campers from the unpredictable Kansas weather.

“We wanted to provide all of our visitors with the safest experience while enjoying the campgrounds,” said Debbie Giskie. “Currently, the only storm shelter that is available is the bath facilities, but it was brought to our attention that they are only graded to withstand an ‘F2’ storm. This project will help ensure that we provide a safe place for visitors to gather in case of an emergency.”

Representatives from Southern Pioneer Electric were approached of the project in late 2016 and were eager to provide assistance.

“Safety is a major component of our business model at Southern Pioneer Electric, which is why we are excited to be partnering with the Friends of Arkalon Park, Inc. on this project,” said H.U.G.S. member Dee Longoria. “We understand the concern for safety and are happy to help make this new shelter available for campers.”

The Friends of Arkalon Park, Inc. hopes to have the new shelter installed before the 2017 season. For more information regarding the project, please contact Debbie Giskie at 620-626-2207.

H.U.G.S. program awards $5,600 grant to Kismet Public Library Foundation

January 12, 2016 – Members of the Southern Pioneer Electric’s Helping Us Give to Society (H.U.G.S.) Team presented the Kismet Public Library Foundation with a $5,600 grant to help with the construction of a new library facility for the Kismet community.

“We are thankful to have the opportunity to still have a place to provide our service, but we are looking forward to having our own space with room to possibly expand,” said foundation President Louise Wyrick.”Currently, all special programs for adults and children, including summer reading activities, must be held in facilities outside of the library. Our hope is that the new building will be able to provide our patrons and library staff with the appropriate space to be able to fully enjoy all that their library has to offer.”

On the evening of July 22, 2015, a driver crashed into the town’s city hall. The library, housed on the south side of the building, was directly impacted by the accident. The Seward County Fire Department, offered to rent their meeting room to us as a temporary location while the building was in repair. Library staff, board members and community volunteers helped move the library back to its original location in March 2016. Despite the turmoil and relocation, the library has continued to offer a variety of services to those in the surrounding communities.

“The library provides a variety of services for adults, youth and children,” said Wyrick “A children’s summer reading program is offered along with craft and story times for children in the area. In addition, we provide our local students with the tools and resources they need to help meet their education goals. We work with Kismet Elementary School and support them with their literacy programs and have students from Southwestern Heights Junior and Senior High School and Plains Elementary School use the library to check out materials.”

The project was brought to the attention of the H.U.G.S. team and the group was eager to support the project.

“We hope that our contribution will help create a great facility for the Kismet community,” said H.U.G.S. representative Dee Longoria. “Having a program like H.U.G.S. gives us an opportunity to give back to the communities we serve. We are excited for the Kismet community and hope they enjoy this new facility in the years to come!”