Ninety-seven high school juniors from Missouri participated in the 51st anniversary of National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., June 12-18.Local delegates were Hannah Baalman, Dardenne Prairie; Alexa and Madison Jones, O’Fallon; Alexandra Hudelson, Old Monroe; Jessica Hoelting, Moscow Mills; and Sarah Hoelscher, Warrenton. They were sponsored by Cuivre River Electric Cooperative (CREC), Troy.The seven-day tour provided an action-filled week for high school students, offering them opportunities to learn firsthand what it’s like to be involved in politics, community service and today’s pressing issues. Highlights included a special session on Capitol Hill with U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer to discuss the process of government, issues of the day and increasing their knowledge of cooperative electric utilities and American history.“The Youth Tour students from Missouri demonstrated a true passion for learning about democracy and government. They asked some really tough questions on everything from education-related bills, health care to climate change legislation. It’s great to see high school students eager to learn and gain leadership skills. Building strong leaders out of today’s young people is essential to our nation’s future,” said Luetkemeyer.Youth Tour delegates also visited with NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson in Arlington, Va. Emerson, a former House member from Missouri, encouraged the delegates to take advantage of this exclusive learning opportunity, communicate with their elected officials, make new friends and have fun while visiting Washington, D.C.“Each and every one of you can make a difference in the political process,” said Emerson. “The way that you talk about the issues will impress your leaders in Congress. It will give them hope that your generation understands how to lead and you are committed to doing so.”Missouri’s Youth Tour delegates visited with U.S. congressmen from their congressional districts across the state, toured famous monuments, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Arlington National Cemetery. The group also took a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River one evening with delegates from other states.Other events of the week included participation in the NRECA Youth Day program, during which a special program coordinated by NRECA brought together more than 1,700 Youth Tour delegates from across the United States. The delegates enjoyed speeches by government leaders and motivational speakers, such as Mike Schlappi, an inspiring four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion.Since 1964, CREC has sponsored 204 Youth Tour delegates for visits to their U.S. congressional delegations, energy and grassroots government education sessions, and sightseeing in Washington, D.C. More than 53,000 high school juniors and seniors sponsored by the nation’s electric cooperatives have participated in the Youth Tour since the educational leadership program began.CREC provides electricity to more than 61,500 homes and businesses in Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties. For more information on the Youth Tour and Cuivre River Electric Cooperative visit www.cuivre.com or call 800-392-3709 extension 230.
Cuivre River Electric Cooperative Youth Tour delegates traveled to Washington, D.C. June 12-18 to attend the National Youth Tour Conference. Pictured, from left, are Alexa Jones, O’Fallon; Jessica Hoelting, Moscow Mills; Madison Jones, O’Fallon; Hannah Baalman, Dardenne Prairie; Alexandra Hudelson, Old Monroe; and Sarah Hoelscher of Warrenton. Submitted photo.