America’s Electric Cooperatives Send 1,700 Students to Capitol Hill for Annual Youth Tour

(June 10, 2016) — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) next week hosts 1,700 competitively selected high school students for the association’s annual Youth Tour. Students will meet with their elected officials, engage in leadership training and bond with students from co-op communities all across the country.

NRECA initiated Youth Tour after Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson suggested to co-op leaders at an NRECA annual meeting that they “send youngsters to the nation’s capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.” The tradition of sending students to D.C. continues each June.

“Young Americans given the opportunity to come to Washington, D.C. by their electric cooperatives experience a life-changing event. They talk to their elected officials in person, connect to our nation’s rich history and have a hands-on experience with democracy,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “Youth Tour enriches their understanding of the political process and the vital importance of direct engagement, and as a result they return to their communities with a deeper commitment to the communities they represent.”

Previous Youth Tour participants have become university presidents, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and members of Congress. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook credited Youth Tour with his first trip to Washington in his commencement speech to graduates of George Washington University in 2015. Over the past 51 years, nearly 50,000 students have visited Washington through Youth Tour.

Electric co-ops from nearly every state selected participants to receive the expense-paid trip.

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.