Youth Tour representatives Dalton Schmit of Jesup and Parker Oltogge of Shellsburg recently returned from the 2012 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program sponsored by East-Central Iowa REC (ECI REC). They spent six days in Washington, D.C., with 28 peers from Iowa.
Each year in June, an action-filled week provides high school students opportunities to learn first-hand what it is like to be involved in politics, community service, and today’s pressing issues in the energy industry. Students met their elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate, saw historic sites, and met over 1,500 students from across the country who participated in their state’s Youth Tour program.
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has been a joint effort of local electric co-ops, such as ECI REC, their statewide co-op associations, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), based in Arlington, Virginia, for 48 years.
Schmit and Oltogge said they had the experience of a lifetime meeting with peers from other states and NRECA staff during the Washington trip.
“The youth tour was so amazing,” Schmit said. “It was really cool to meet my senator and representative, and learn about politics up-close. Plus, I made friends from nearly every state and experienced history first-hand. It really made me think about what it means to be an American, and shows that people my age do care about this country.”
In addition to taking in the sights of the nation’s capital, all the state groups convened for National Youth Day, sponsored by NRECA, to learn from public figures and other inspirational speakers. This year’s Youth Day agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medallist and two-time world Champion Wheelchair Basketball champion. Schlappi shares his inspiring message for every American, young or old: “Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out.”
For more information on how you can participate in East-Central Iowa REC’s Youth Tour program, contact ECI REC toll free 877-850-4343, or log onto www.ecirec.coop.
Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 50,000 high school juniors and seniors for visits to their U.S. congressional delegations, energy and grassroots government education sessions, and sightseeing in Washington. NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.
For more information about the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Program, please visit http://www.youthtour.coop.