Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Receives Rave Reviews
Sixteen North Dakota high school students returned June 16 from the 53rd-annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. They joined more than 1,600 students from around the nation for a fast-paced, intensive week of learning about history and American government, visiting with their state’s congressional delegation, becoming more knowledgeable about the cooperative business model, and touring museums, national monuments and memorials. While on the tour, they develop leadership skills and a national network of peers. The students are sponsored by their family’s electric distribution cooperative.
Two participants, Elisabeth Ehnert, Horace, and Bridget Henne, Fargo, represented Cass County Electric Cooperative on this year’s Youth Tour.
Coordination of the Youth Tour is handled by the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC). NDAREC serves as the liaison between the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the state’s distribution cooperatives. Year after year, the Youth Tour has been followed up with glowing praise from participants—this year was no exception.
“I cannot even begin to explain how grateful I am that I was selected to represent CCEC during the 2017 Youth Tour,” says Henne. “It provided me the opportunity to meet amazing people and see incredible monuments and museums. I really enjoyed seeing Mount Vernon, the Lincoln and Washington Memorials, along with going to Capitol Hill and meeting with Representative Cramer. I learned so much about the history of America, cooperatives, and made many new friends.”
Education is a fundamental principle of electric cooperatives. Boards of directors and co-op leaders believe it’s imperative to help students understand the democratic process and gain the skills necessary to become tomorrow’s leaders. Through the Youth Tour, co-ops across the country have made unforgettable impacts on students for more than half a century.
“It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life,” says Henne.
Every fall, CCEC issues the Youth Tour essay contest to local high schools. By early February, submissions are collected and judged, and the winners are contacted in preparation for the trip in June. For more information, visit kwh.com/youth-tour, ndyouthtour.com, or youthtour.coop.