Hip, Hip Hooray

Management Development Program class 2015 at their community service project at Extra Special People’s Camp Hooray

It was a perfect intersection of need and service when 22 Jackson EMC employees participating in the University of Georgia Management Development Program (MDP) journeyed to Extra Special People’s (ESP) Camp Hooray, Jefferson campus, for a day of work and fellowship. The group chose Camp Hooray to complete their community service project, one of the requirements of the course.

The group first met with Laura Whitaker, Executive Director, and staff to get an overview of the facility and its future plans, the services it offers and how the class could help the participants it serves.

“After meeting their team, and knowing our parameters, it was a natural fit,” said Anthony Cook, contact center supervisor. “The site is centrally located to our corporate office, we could fulfill many of their needs and the results would immediately serve a group of less fortunate children and families.”

Most of the work done by the class was manual labor: clearing and cleaning up the site, cutting down and hauling away trees, clearing trails and brush around the pond, weed eating and cutting grass, cleaning and setting up the main meeting/dining hall and living quarters. The staff’s “dream project” was refurbishing picnic tables and building new ones for the outdoor pavilion area. “When we saw the completed pavilion, we were surprised and blessed,” Whitaker said. “We never dreamed the group would tackle and complete such a major project.”

MDP core leadership and management skills requires a community service project that puts into practice what is learned in the classroom. The group agreed that the project was intense, especially on a hot summer day, but they were extremely proud of all they accomplished in such a short amount of time, and as a team.

Class instructor Brendan Leahy, The University of Georgia, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development was impressed with the size and scope of the project the class took on. “Above and beyond their skills and abilities, their work ethic and positive attitudes stood out above all. Jackson EMC was represented on a very high level and I was proud to be associated with every one of them,” he said. 

Pictured are the MDP 2015 class: (Kneeling from left to right) Brendan S. Leahy, instructor; Tim Neisler, district warehouse coordinator; Kyle Rainwater, billing and collections coordinator; Brian Smith, staking technician; Joana Castaneda, billing and collections coordinator; Sherry Wyatt, senior customer service representative (rep); Vanessa Maston, senior customer service rep. (Standing): Tim Sweat, director of job training and safety; Nelson McGinnis, residential marketing rep; Joey Thompson, line foreman; Monica Jackson, marketing/member services rep; Charlie Watson, district superintendent; Elke Yath, human resources specialist; Heath Burell, line foreman; Jennifer Fennell, C/I marketing rep; Daniel Phillips, district distribution engineer; Lindsay Darnell, senior customer service rep; Kevin Tompkins, line foreman; Anthony Cook, contact center supervisor; Wayne Connell, journeyman lineman; Brenda Moore, billing and collections coordinator; Wanda Scott, senior customer service rep; and Chris Kelley, district distribution engineer.

ESP’s Camp Hooray will provide children with developmental disabilities or serious injuries a recreational therapy camp where they can cultivate skills, self-confidence and relationships in an environment tailored for them. The newly-acquired addition of the 70-acres in Jackson County to their Watkinsville facility will allow ESP to significantly increase the number of children and families they serve. Learn more at www.extraspecialpeople.com.