(NEW ORLEANS, La.) — Collin Craig, spokesperson for the national Youth Leadership Council (YLC) and a high school senior at Slocomb High School, today addressed more than 6,500 electric cooperative leaders from across the country at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
In 2015, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, based in Hartford, Ala., sponsored Craig’s trip to Washington, D.C. as a part of NRECA’s annual Youth Tour. The 47 Alabama Youth Tour participants chose Craig to serve as a delegate to the Youth Leadership Council. At the YLC Leadership Conference, Craig’s fellow delegates selected him to serve as national spokesperson for the 42-member council.
Standing before the co-op leaders, Craig offered the following reflection on his Youth Tour experience in Washington, D.C.:
The Washington Youth Tour has initiated my part in the bigger picture. I am no longer a small town kid focused on small time dreams. I am Collin Craig, the Alabama representative on the Youth Leadership Council. I am one of forty-six determined young adults seeking a positive change for the future of our generation, our cooperatives, and our nation.
This positive change we are seeking can be described as our goals, hopes, dreams, and ideas. It is these attainable aspects that define what I call the biggest picture. It is something that changes over and over. It’s what drives our existing actions. It is something that grows larger as generations pass and minds flourish.
It is a thirst that can’t be quenched. It is something that is reachable, then becomes unreachable because despite our changes and good intentions there is no end to opportunity. The Next Greatest Thing is always out there!
NRECA’s Interim CEO, Jeffrey Connor, praised both Craig’s participation in Youth Tour and his speech to the Annual Meeting. “Collin’s speech reassures us all that the cooperative program will be in capable hands when the next generation takes over,” said Connor.
Each state attending the Youth Tour selects a representative for the NRECA Youth Leadership Council. The YLC delegates attend a weeklong summer Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. A national spokesperson is selected during the conference to address both the NRECA Annual Meeting and the Youth Tour delegates the following summer.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.