NASHVILLE — Aaron Lay, spokesperson for the national Youth Leadership Council (YLC) and a senior at Sequoyah High School, today addressed more than 6,000 electric cooperative leaders at the 2018 annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Standing before the co-op leaders, Lay reflected on his experiences in Washington: “Having the opportunity to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech inspired me that I, too, a rural farm kid from East Tennessee, have a dream as well.”
“I’m constantly impressed by the ideas and enthusiasm of our youth tour participants,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said. “Youth Tour is one of the brightest spots in the electric cooperative movement. The future of our nation is in good hands with leaders like Aaron involved.”
Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative sponsored Lay’s trip to the nation’s capital in 2017 as part of the annual NRECA youth tour. Almost 200 Tennessee youth tour delegates and staff selected Lay to serve as the state’s delegate to the YLC. In turn, a 10-member selection panel then chose Lay as the 2018 national spokesperson.
Lay also serves as the Tennessee 4-H State Council vice president and the president of his high school class. He is involved in service projects through his community and state as an active member of the BETA Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America and Student Council.
After he graduates this spring, Lay plans to pursue an education in Agriculture Communications at Tennessee Tech University.
More than 6,000 representatives from electric co-ops across the nation are attending NRECA’s annual meeting, which runs from Feb. 25-28 in Nashville and sets NRECA’s organizational and legislative agenda for 2018. Co-op representatives also hear from NRECA officials, key public figures and business experts about issues affecting electric cooperatives and their consumer members. The annual meeting is held in conjunction with TechAdvantage, a technology learning event and expo that features more than 300 exhibitors showcasing their state-of-the-art technologies, equipment and services.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.