Programs & ScholarshipsLearn more about our local programs and scholarship opportunities.
Community Programs, Scholarships and Grants
Four County EMC awards $10,000 in scholarships to students through the Scholarship Foundation of four Community Colleges in our service area. For the full application process and eligibility requirements, interested students should contact one of the Community Colleges listed below:
Welcome to Co-op Connections!
This free program provides co-op members with discounts on everyday expenses.
Here are just some of the ways you can save money – Enjoy!
• Co-op local deals to save money in and around your community
• Healthy savings discounts for prescriptions, dental and more
• Cash Back online shopping at over 3,000 retailers
• Hotels savings at over 400,000 hotels
• Save 10% on all concerts, sports events, and theaters
• Insurance savings to protect your family
• National discounts to help you save money wherever you travel
To find more businesses in your area or an area where you will be traveling, please visit the co-op connections website by clicking here (hyperlink to connections.coop) or to view a list of local businesses that participate, please click here. (link to list of participating businesses – this hasn’t been created yet)
We are currently looking for local businesses that would like to participate in the program. Businesses that join coop connections receive FREE marketing and advertising to our 32,000+ members through our website, social media, monthly newsletter and a printed list of participating businesses that’s available to pick up in each of our three district offices. All it takes is signing up to participate and providing Four County EMC members with a discount at your business. You get to pick the discount and have the ability to modify it as often as you’d like. For more information about the program or to sign up, please contact Jeremy Dewberry at 910-259-1808 or email@example.com.
Don’t forget to download the free mobile app to take the savings with you and redeem savings at point of sale.
Go Beyond the Card and find all the ways to save! Thank you for allowing us to serve you!
Bright Ideas Grant Program
Four County is always looking for ways to help improve the communities we serve. That’s why we participate in NC Bright Ideas. This grant-awarding program is a unique opportunity for local teachers to receive up to $2,000 for innovative teaching ideas.
Co-sponsored by N.C. Association of Electric Cooperatives, the grants are available to teachers in area schools for projects that traditional school money does not cover. All of North Carolina’s 26 electric Cooperatives participate in the program and to date, the Bright Ideas grant program has awarded more than $13.6 million in grant money to teachers throughout the state to sponsor nearly 13,000 projects benefiting more than 2.7 million North Carolina students. Since Bright Ideas originated in 1994, Four County has contributed more than $500,000 to local teachers. Bright Ideas grant applications are collected each year through mid-September, and winning proposals are selected in a competitive evaluation process by a panel of judges. North Carolina K-12 teachers may apply now at ncbrightideas.com.
Four County EMC serves over 32,500 members in Bladen, Duplin, Pender, Sampson, Columbus and Onslow counties.
Like Four County’s Facebook page to receive local updates. Also, you can follow “Bright Ideas Education Grant Program”on Facebook to receive updated news about the program. If you have questions about Four County EMC’s Bright Ideas Grant program contact MaKayla Killens at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-259-1820 for more information.
2021-2022 Bright Ideas Grant Winners
The winning teachers are listed by respective county, along with the amount of funds they received (listed in order of teacher who submitted a grant, school, project name, and the amount awarded):
- Becky Suzanne Davisson – Dublin Primary School – Chords over Covid – $1, 603.80
- Brittney Hester – Emereau Bladen Charter School – Green is Everything – $1,001.31
- Bruce Simonson – East Bladen High school – East Bladen HS Automated Greenhouse Irrigation System – $1,818.00
- Ron Warren – East Bladen High – Homage to Jasper Johns – $2,000
- Misty Ross – Chinquapin Elementary – Secret Stories Superheros – $1,047.50
- Britani W. Becher – Chinquapin Elementary –Safe Spaces, Conquering ACE’s – $1,855.31
- Tanya Novakowski – Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary – Farming with Worms – $1,845.34
- Victoria Newkirk – RoseHill- Magnolia Elementary – Eagle News – $1,979.00
- Dr. Chris Wirszyla – Cape Fear Elementary – Building a Better SELF (Self Esteem and Lifetime Fitness) – $986.34
- Cindy Robinson – Malpass Corner Elementary – A WANDerful Experience – $406.10
- Laura Black – Rocky Point Elementary School – Percussion with a Purpose – $1,884.98
- Aariene Hansley – West Pender Middle – Warrior’s Apparel – $1,812.00
- Teresa Soles – West Pender Middle – Feeding Our Community: Seed to Supper – $1,979.75
- Michael McHolland – Heide Trask High School – 13 Colonies Card Game – SPOONS – $99.90
- Matt Davis – Pender High School – Sports Casting and Immersive Journalism Experience – $1,989.00
- Jared Pinkston – Pender High School – Team PHEnix Robotics FIRST Forward: Full Speed Ahead Season– $2,000.00
- Andrea Hunter – Union Intermediate School – I’ve Got a Feeling: Exploring Social Emotional Learning with Print – $2,000.00
Each year, Four County EMC offers all-expense-paid summer basketball camp scholarships for middle school students (rising sixth and seventh graders). Boys can apply to attend the Carolina Basketball School Camp at UNC-Chapel Hill and girls can compete for a spot at the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp at N.C. State University.
In 2022, camp dates are:
- Wolfpack Women’s Camp: June 19-22
- Carolina Basketball School Camp: June 18-22
Students can download an application beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Four County EMC will select one student for each camp in a competitive process based on academics, extracurricular activities, and a short essay. Rising sixth and seventh graders are eligible to apply and the final deadline is March 31.
Not only does the program allow North Carolina middle school students to spend time on a college campus, but it also gives them the opportunity to receive individual and group instruction from two successful collegiate coaches to enhance their basketball skills.
The Touchstone Energy Sports Camps program provides a unique educational and athletic opportunity for outstanding students across our state and is yet another way cooperatives are demonstrating their commitment to North Carolina communities.
2022 Basketball Camp Applications and Guidelines
Youth Leadership Weekend
Youth Leadership Weekend began in 2008 and occurs every year in March. Twenty area high school juniors (10 male and 10 female) are invited to attend each year. Each high school in our service territory sends one male and one female student to participate. The students are chosen by their principals, teachers, and guidance counselors.
Youth Leadership Weekend serves as an opportunity for the students to develop leadership skills that are vital to their success in life while also learning about the cooperative business model. The program is held at Camp Kirkwood in Watha, NC where it begins Friday afternoon and ends Sunday morning. Over the course of the weekend, the students are provided with several training exercises that are focused on developing their leadership and team-building skills while really challenging themselves and overcoming fears. The weekend also presents motivational speakers as well as allowing time built in to have fun together and get to know each other. A highlight of the weekend is a student favorite – ziplining.
On Sunday morning, as the program comes to an end, the students vote on who they thought were the most outstanding male and female leaders for the weekend. These two students chosen by their peers are then invited to represent Four County EMC at the Youth Tour in Washington, DC in June. Also, each student that attends the program is eligible to apply for one of two $1,000 scholarships by writing an essay about their experience over the course of the weekend and what they learned about leadership, team building, and the cooperative business model.
For 2022, Youth Leadership Weekend will be held at Camp Kirkwood in Watha March 11-13. If you would like more information about the program, please contact MaKayla Killens at 910-259-1820 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Youth Leadership Weekend is one of the many ways that Four County contributes to the communities that we serve by assisting in the development of our communities’ future leaders. We can’t think of a better investment than one made in our youth.
Electric Cooperative Youth Tour
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. for a week in June every year since the late 1950s. We believe that students should see their nation’s capital up close, learn about the political process and interact with their elected officials.
Students gain a personal understanding of American history and their role as a citizen by meeting their Representative and Senators. While student groups are organized at the state level, they all come together for Youth Day, where they get to meet each other and hear featured speakers who provide insight to the important roles electric cooperatives play in their communities.
Nearly 50,000 students from rural areas and small towns across America have participated in this program. Some of our Youth Tour alumni have gone on to design airplanes, to lead companies and to serve in the highest ranks of our government, including the U.S. Senate. Don’t be surprised if you run into a former Youth Tour participant who is a congressional aide on Capitol Hill. While several of our alumni work in Washington, you will find even more alumni in your own community.
Four County EMC sponsors one male and one female high school junior to attend Youth Tour each year. They are selected by their peers during Youth Leadership Weekend. If you are a junior in high school and interested in attending, please ask your guidance counselor about recommending you to attend Youth Leadership Weekend in March.
Students attending the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour are eligible to win the $2,500 Gwen B. Price Scholarship and the $2,000 Katie Bunch Memorial Scholarship. These scholarships are awarded annually at the North Carolina Electric Cooperative’s Annual Meeting of Members in Raleigh.
These scholarships were established by the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives Volunteers’ Committee to aid young people who have limited financial resources and have exhibited outstanding scholastic and leadership abilities in their quest for a college education.
Brice Miller, a rising senior as Pender High School, represented Four County EMC on the 2019 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.
Operation Round Up
Operation Round Up® is a program which was established in 1994 to provide assistance to Four County members who find themselves in unexpected, crisis situations beyond their control (illness, injury, loss of job, house fire, natural disaster), and to fund non-profit organizations which provide services and support to Four County communities.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than $3.1 million has been awarded to Four County EMC members in crisis situations and non-profit organizations that provide assistance and services to the Cooperative’s members.
What member needs or organizations are funded?
Essential needs not met through other means may include food, clothing housing, medical expenses and equipment, etc. Organizations funded include volunteer fire departments, literacy councils, Special Olympics, children/youth and senior citizens programs, food banks, and domestic violence shelters.
Who approves applications for Operation Round Up® funding?
The Operation Round Up®TRUST Fund is administered by a nine-member Board of Directors. Board members are community leaders from across the Four County service area who meet every other month to consider applications received. These Board members take very seriously their responsibility to investigate all requests for funding and make awards to individuals who have the most serious needs and organizations who provide services and support for Four County communities.
Each month, participating members’ electric bills are “rounded up” to the next whole dollar. For example, if your electric bill is $52.71, you will be billed for $53.00. The difference goes into the Operation Round Up trust Fund. The average contribution per member a year is $6.00. Operation Round Up® contributions are tax deductible.
Over 27,000 Four County members currently participate in Operation Round Up® and contribute only pennies a month; however, these pennies add up to over $13,000 a month. If you do not currently participate in Operation Round Up®, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us to “Sign me up!” We’ll take care of it for you. Together we can see over and over again that “small change really does change lives.”
How to Apply:
Click the links below to download and print the instructions and applications.
Apply for Operation Round Up® Funds
In order to apply for funding, you must be an active member of Four County Electric, in other words, receive your electricity from Four County. Organizations do not have to receive their electricity from Four County; however, they must serve Four County members.
Those in need of funding may pick up an application from any Four County office.
Amber Alert Program
Four County has partnered with the NC Amber Alert program to help locate missing children.
The Amber Alert program is designed to safely recover missing children who are in danger of serious injury or death. When an Amber Alert is dispatched by law enforcement, electric cooperative personnel will then relay the alert instantly to personnel in the field via electronic messaging.
The addition of such a wide geographic distribution of personnel, often in out-of-the-way areas, should prove a major asset to the state’s Amber Alert system. Time is precious during abduction. A recent U.S. Department of Justice report determined that in 40 percent of 115 juvenile abductions studied, the child was murdered usually within 24 hours of abduction. However, a study by the Washington state Attorney General’s Office indicated that in 75 percent of child abduction/murder cases studied, death occurred within the first three hours of kidnapping. The North Carolina Amber Alert System was first activated in June 2002 and resulted in a Franklin County infant being returned unharmed from a baby sitter who abducted the child and transported it to another county.