What is Youth Tour?
In 1957, then Senator and future President Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, urged directors and staff of the nation’s electric cooperatives to bring young people to Washington to get a first-hand look at how government works.
“If one thing goes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents,” Johnson said at the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Then in 1964, NRECA answered the challenge with the formation of the Washington Youth Tour. At its inception, Youth Tour only included 400 young students from just 12 states. Today, it changes lives of over 1,900 students every year.
Every June, Arizona cooperatives help send local high school students to spend a week in the nation’s capital. The program, part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, engages high school students across the country representing 640 of America’s Electric Cooperatives. Last year, Arizona was represented by 51 local students.
The students are sponsored by electric cooperatives — cooperatives that are committed to educating America’s rural youth about America and the role electric cooperatives play in developing strong rural communities. Throughout their week, delegates meet with elected officials, explore museums, visit historical monuments and develop friendships that last a lifetime. They witness firsthand the location of events that shaped our nation. They become inspired to run for office as they watch legislators make decisions that impact them back home. Or, they return ready to tackle challenges, create million-dollar business, and develop innovative products. Youth Tour ignites a passion within delegates to look at the world with a fresh perspective, challenge the status quo, invest in rural America and create change in their communities. Youth Tour is about elevating students to the next level and it all happens in just one week.
Participating in the Youth Tour is an awesome way to learn about this great nation, develop leadership skills, gain a better understanding of electric cooperatives and make friendships that will last beyond the week.
Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative coordinates Youth Tour to our nation’s capital for the utilities in Arizona and California that participate in the program.
2021 Youth Tour
Due to COVID-19, Arizona’s Electric Cooperatives have made the hard decision to withdraw from the 2021 Washington, D.C. Youth Tour. If you have any questions, please contact your local WYT Coordinator, or Hannah Capozzi at the Statewide office. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Youth Tour Scholarships
The NRECA offers scholarships for WYT Alumni and participants. To view the current scholarships offered through NRECA, please click HERE to be directed to their scholarship web page.
These scholarships are a great way to engage with the WYT program through NRECA, as well as contribute funding to your college or university education! Still not sure about applying for the WYT scholarships? Take a look at this article on a few of the winners from years past.
Still curious about more WYT scholarships? Reach out to your local WYT Coordinator to see if there are any remaining scholarships for WYT alumni/participants in your area.
Youth Leadership Council
Download the application HERE.
During Youth Tour, you can have the chance to be selected to represent your state on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council (YLC). One student from each state is selected and they will come back to Washington, D.C., in July for a leadership workshop which will focus on the electric cooperative industry.
The purpose of the YLC conference is to build leadership and public speaking skills, and to enhance the delegates’ knowledge of the energy industry and the cooperative form of business. These students will also make presentations at their statewide and local cooperative annual meetings.
Each student will prepare a 5-7 minute speech about what inspired them during their Youth Tour trip. Also, the YLC National Spokesperson will be selected to address the membership at the NRECA Annual Meeting and to address the Youth Tour delegates the following year.
Members of the YLC play an important role during NRECA’s Annual Meeting the following spring. Not only are the YLC members recognized on stage, they have a hands-on experience with virtually every facet of the meeting including the resolutions process and helping our members communicate with their legislators.
Youth Leadership Council members leave more poised, confident and a better developed leader with a strong determination to improve your community and make their country a better place. Further, they leave having built life-long friendships with other student leaders from across the country.
Download the application HERE.