In the past decade, South Central Indiana REMC has made its Energy Explorers Camp a fixture on the calendar for a mid-June Friday.


In 2023, the camp came on the heels of some unwanted history as the worst storm – a derecho, in fact – to ever hit SCI territory came through the night before.


That cut camp attendance in half and left a skeleton crew to take up the duties.


When potential storms skirted the SCI area on Thursday night again in 2024, Member Services Communications Specialist Haley Jansen breathed a sigh of relief afterwards.


“This year it went smoothly,” she said. “And this year the campers get to see everything.”


A total of 20 attendees in grades four through six started the day with introductions and a brief history of the REMC before kicking things off by doing a solar jar activity with Hoosier Energy’s Angela Dabney.


Then came the live line demonstration, which was unavailable a year ago. SCI linemen used props ranging from hot dogs to grapefruits to balloons to illustrate the potential dangers and power of electric lines. That included a lesson on what to do if a car came in contact with downed power lines. “Electricity is like ripples in a pond,” the campers were told.


Live line demo at Energy Explorers Camp

SCI REMC linemen give a live line demo during Energy Explorers Camp on June 14, 2024.

A tour of the SCI warehouse followed. They saw old copper wire, new aluminum wire and insulated wire with both cooper and aluminum as well as recloser, regulators and fuses. The tour stopped to look at LED traffic signs, a truck with an auger, a bucket truck, fiber rolls, poles, a backyard machine and more.


After a break to have pizza for lunch, campers were divided into groups of five to hit different stations every half hour in the afternoon.


Those stations were:


  • Fiber, where they made their own version of fiber with straws, a light and a battery while touring the mobile fiber trailer.


  • Vegetation management, learning about everything from avoiding trees with power lines to tree trimming and being aware of vines and things like poison ivy, oak and sumac.


  • Dispatch, where they observed the monitors displaying the SCI grid and experienced walkie talkie communication.


  • Bucket truck, where each camper got to experience a ride in the 60-foot bucket truck and surveyed the area surrounding SCI headquarters.


  • Drone station, which featured both a lineman drone with optical recognition and thermal imaging as well as the photo/video drone from Hoosier Energy’s Chris Johnson.


“The kids did pretty good, and we made it so they barely had any downtime,” Jansen said.


A quick lineman relay helped get out some energy before the day concluded with a Youth Program Presentation from Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ Ann Mears followed by group photos, a goodie bag and a recap of what the campers learned.


“Our team at SCI demonstrated exceptional teamwork and collaboration both this year and last year, ensuring everything came together,” Jansen said. “For next year, whether we face disruptions or our plans run smoothly, we are prepared to provide a fun and educational experience for the kids.”