Hydromania Wraps Up Record Year with New Corporate Sponsor

Locally owned public utilities are an intricate part of the communities they serve. But being a good neighbor means more than providing a service. It requires a commitment to local communities. Nowhere is this more prominent than in the support of youth programs that inspire, educate and offer life-affirming experiences.

Fourth and fifth graders in Umatilla Electric Cooperative’s (UEC) service territory were treated to a hands-on exploration of science, water, electricity this summer during Hydromania Summer Science Camp.

New in 2023, a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) meant campers were given special access to the AWS Think Big Space located in Boardman, Ore.

“AWS is thrilled to support UEC’s Hydromania Summer Science Camp, complementing the STEAM programing that has been inspiring students that participate for so many years,” said Sarah Georgiades, Head of AWS InCommunities for the Americas. “We strongly believe in the power of education to unlock human potential, and summer is a critical time when we need to continue engaging students in fun, educational experiences that activate their spirit of innovation and creative thinking.”

As the corporate sponsor this year, support from AWS was integral in providing the necessary staff, busing, equipment and special STEM-related exploration kits for each student, delivering campers with a lifelong memory and educational foundation of science, technology and energy subjects.

“Education and leadership opportunities allow young people to grow and be active in their communities — UEC has made it a priority to offer opportunities for our youth to foster the skills needed to become the leaders of tomorrow.” said Weston Putman, manager of public relations at Umatilla Electric Cooperative.

UEC’s “Hydromaniacs” sat down with Brooke Kaschmitter, STEAM education advisor for the Port of Morrow, who facilitated a tour of the Think Big Space for a lesson in robotic coding where students learned how to write basic code and “teach” a mini robot to follow a custom designed route.

Over the course of six-weeks, 100 campers, affectionately referred to as “Hydromaniacs”, built models of a hydroelectric dam, learned about the life cycle of salmon, explored the inner workings of a modern commercial farm, coded mini robotic devices able to drive autonomously and toured national historic landmarks.

For more than 25 years, UEC has facilitated the fun-filled summer science camp focused on science, water, our environment, and energy making it an unforgettable experience.

“We are excited to have this opportunity available to the youth in our communities. Hydromania has now seen generations of students grow up and now send their children to attend this unique summer science camp,” stated Amy Callan, program coordinator. “We are proud of the legacy of learning being fostered here and wish to thank all those who have made it possible.”

Throughout 2023, UEC has showcased the people and programs in our community making a difference every day to help create a better place to live, work and play. The series called, Our Power is People, recognizes that as a member-owned cooperative, the organization’s success stems from the community it serves.

To commemorate the 2023 camp season, UEC produced a video highlighting the people and partnerships continuing to bolster this one-of-a-kind youth camp, which is now available online and on UEC’s social media channels.

Next year’s camp details will be available in April of 2024 with applications opening in May. For more details contact Amy Callan, program coordinator at (541) 567-6414 or visit our Hydromania page.