President’s Message – September 2021

Unplug With Meaningful Community Programs

Jimmy Black headshotMost adults have a vague memory of when “checking for messages” meant listening to an answering machine. We carried on with our days without cellphones and managed just fine. But today, we are more connected than ever through our smartphones and other devices.

Our phones do so much more than make calls now—from cameras to calendars to social media connections—and truly disconnecting from them can be challenging. It’s even harder for our kids to unplug because they only know life with these tiny screens. It’s difficult for them to imagine life without computers, gaming devices, tablets, or cellphones.

But there’s great value in unplugging for children and adults, even if for just a short time. For kids, time away from the screen to be outside with other children allows them to connect with nature and others in a way that a virtual experience simply does not allow. They can experience life in the moment and allow their creativity and energy to break free.

Fortunately, we have access to great community programs and organizations that provide children with a safe place to play, learn and grow, while cultivating new skills and interests.

These types of clubs and programs offer kids an opportunity to explore activities and interests outside of school academics. Children can investigate areas they might not otherwise have access to and discover new interests and passions. They often learn new skills and strengthen existing ones.

It’s no secret that the broader the range of experiences and activities children are exposed to, the more likely they are to find their own path and possibly a career. Community programs also foster important leadership development and public speaking skills. Through guided and informal play and activities, children learn problem-solving and interpersonal skills, enabling them to resolve conflicts peacefully and improve interpersonal relationships.

Adults also can find meaningful opportunities to spend time with children when we all unplug. From board games to craft projects to playing in the park, there are many ways we can unplug for some family fun.

While you and your children disconnect, take a moment to identify potential energy savings. Unplug electronics that are not in use to avoid vampire energy loss. This is the energy drained from technology and electronics even when they are not in use. For example, although it is turned off, your TV is waiting to receive a signal from the remote, and your DVR is waiting to record the next show or perform an update.

Let’s encourage youngsters to step away from the screens and join in—to play and be part of an organization that helps them connect with others, find meaningful interactions, and explore new activities and interests.

When you do plug back in, Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative is here to help you save money and energy by connecting you with our energy-saving programs and services. While we would love to see you in person, we are also just a call or click away.

Jimmy Black