It was a sweltering summer’s day in the Enchanted Forest. This area was generally known as a very pleasant and charming place, but today’s conditions were not ideal. Unfortunately, the Evil Queen’s huntsman had ordered Snow White to flee from the Kingdom instead of imprisoning her as he had been instructed. Because of this, she had been wandering the woods, unsure of where to go or what to do, for some time. Soon, she became tired and hungry. Snow White knew she had to search until she found a place to call her new home or at least to convalesce for a short period of time.
Evening had fallen, and just as the princess had begun to lose all hope, she stumbled upon a tumbledown cottage deep in the heart of the Enchanted Forest. “Oh, it’s adorable! Just like a doll’s house,” squealed Snow White.
She knocked on the front door and awaited a welcome. After a moment, the door creaked open, revealing the owners of the home. Seven dwarfs stood glaring at the unexpected visitor.
“Might I come in to have a bite to eat and a safe place to rest?” pleaded Snow White.
The dwarfs convened on the matter and soon responded to the princess’s request. “Around our home, we have several rules and expectations. We conduct our household just as we conduct our business, Diamond Mine Electric Cooperative,” explained one of the dwarfs. “We have Seven Cooperative Principles that we follow. Our names symbolize the different aspects of our co-op!”
One by one, the homeowners introduced themselves to the young lady. “My name is Voluntary,” announced the first man, “because our co-op is a voluntary organization that is open to everyone able to use our service and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. In return for our hospitality, you will be responsible for some household chores.” Snow White nodded in agreement.
“Wonderful!” exclaimed the second dwarf. “My name is Actively. I represent the decision-making process within our organization. Our members actively participate in setting policies and creating plans. My co-workers and I have discussed your situation and voted to allow you to stay with us if you agree to follow our principles.” Excitement overtook Snow White, for she finally had a place to get off of her feet for a while.
“Thank you, my friends. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am,” she said with much courtesy.
“We’re more than happy to help you. My name is Equitably. Around our home, each of us contributes equitably, but we also help one another. When one of us is in need, the other six are glad to step in and provide a helping hand!” enthusiastically explained Equitably.
Snow White was unsure of what roles she would be able to play around the cottage. The dwarfs owned appliances and machines that were obscure to her. She began to question the men about what jobs could even be done by a princess when a new dwarf interrupted her.
“I’m Autonomy. Our co-op is an autonomous organization that is controlled by our members. Our household works the same way. Each one of us has a task that we excel in; therefore, that is our very own responsibility. We’ll be sure to search until we find a duty that you enjoy doing,” he proclaimed.
“I’m tickled pink,” the princess cheered. “I’ve never felt this cared for before! It seems that I finally get to have a voice, unlike in the Kingdom.”
“And even if there isn’t a task you’re familiar and comfortable with right now, we can teach you how to do one that interests you,” interrupted one of the men. “I’m Educationally, but you can call me Eddy. Our cooperative strives to educate the community around us. Seeing that companies like ours serve 2.5 million people alone, we have a great opportunity to teach our members, representatives and employees the benefits of working together. So I am certain that we can help you!”
“And not only do we work together amongst one another,” intruded another voice, “we also reach out to others to provide or receive the assets needed to run Diamond Mine Electric Cooperative. Cooperatively is my name, and cooperation is my game. When we all work together, our services are more effective.”
Finally, the last dwarf stepped forward. “My name is Sustainably. We work for the sustainable development of the forest around us. Our goal is to keep everything running smoothly and safely. When our members accept our policies, we are able to provide the energy that they need to carry out their daily activities.”
Snow White’s cheeks dimpled, and the corners of her eyes wrinkled. All of her wishes were finally coming true.
“So, what do you say, Princess? Are you willing to follow our principles?” questioned Voluntarily. “We’d hate to send you wandering back into the Enchanted Forest!”
“I would be delighted to follow your principles and learn more about these intricate and unusual items around your home and co-op!” she replied.
The dwarfs spent the remainder of the evening showing Snow White the power of electricity. Things as familiar as light switches, ovens and vacuum cleaners had been foreign to her until now, but now her eyes were opened to a world of possibilities, the power to be anything she was willing to work for.