WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fifty-three young leaders representing 24 Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives boarded buses and departed for Washington, D.C. on June 16 for the annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA’s) Youth to Washington Tour. They joined more than 1,800 youth delegates from across the nation for this annual tradition that has spanned nearly 60 years.
Sarah Restoff, Isak Fagerland and Benjamin Deshazo meet with Congressman Mike Bost.
Benjamin Deshazo of Ava, Isak Fagerland of Vergennes and Sarah Restoff of Tamaroa represented Egyptian Electric Cooperative during the all-expense-paid trip to D.C. from June 16-23, 2023. In addition, Caroline Guthman of Murphysboro, who is the daughter of Egyptian Electric’s Member Service Manager Brooke Guthman, attended Youth Tour by winning the Tootie Holmes Youth to Washington Scholarship, a memorial fund endowed by the Cooperative Choice Network Credit Union in Springfield.
Caroline Guthman and fellow scholarship recipient Owen Northern meet with Congressman Mike Bost.
During Youth Tour, these students had the opportunity to witness government in action, meet their elected officials, and see the best sights the capital city has to offer.
“Youth Tour is impactful in many ways,” said Brooke Gross, Youth Tour coordinator for Illinois. “While these future leaders may have thought it was going to simply be a sightseeing trip to our nation’s capital, they returned home with valuable knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime.”
The students visited Capitol Hill and met with Congressman Mike Bost (R-12). They also visited historical and cultural sites including Gettysburg, Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, the White House, the National Mall, the Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ford’s Theatre, and many more memorials and historic sites.
The Youth Tour program engages students to learn more about the cooperative business model and pushes them outside of their comfort zones to meet new friends and strengthen their leadership skills. In addition, students are encouraged to apply to become Illinois’ Youth Leadership Council (YLC) representative. The YLC is a year-long appointment, and Paris Van Dyke of Wabash Communications Co-op was voted by her peers to represent Illinois’ cooperatives at national and state meetings and other events in the year ahead.
High school students who live within the service area of Egyptian Electric Cooperative are eligible to apply to participate in the annual program. To learn more about Youth Tour, go to youthtour.coop or Facebook.com/ILYouthtoWashington.
Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school students to visit Washington, D.C., talk one-on-one with their U.S. congressional delegations and learn from energy and grassroots government education sessions. NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million consumer-members in 47 states.
Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association (EECA) is a member of Touchstone Energy — a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to members large and small. More than 700 Touchstone Energy cooperatives in 46 states are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day. EECA is committed to providing superior service based on four core principles: integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. The co-op serves more than 15,500 meters over 2,000 miles of line in Jackson, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington and Williamson counties, and parts of Franklin, Johnson, Monroe and Union counties. For more information, visit eeca.coop.