This summer, the Douglas Electric Cooperative board sponsors Karmeli Leyva to attend the 2023 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.
Our board members and management team, the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) believe students should see their nation’s capital, learn about the political process and interact with their elected officials.
To alert students to the opportunity, DEC notified local schools and nonprofit organizations, including National FFA Organization. The opportunity was also posted on our website.
The Youth Tour provides the opportunity for students to increase their understanding of the value of rural electrification and become more familiar with the historical and political environment. Students participating in the Youth Tour gain a personal understanding of American history and their role as citizens by meeting their representatives and senators. Nearly 50,000 students from rural areas and small towns across America have participated in this program.
During the tour, students also learn more about electric cooperatives and visit historical sites in the Washington, D.C., area.
In 1957, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the NRECA annual meeting and declared, “If one thing goes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capitol, where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.”
Cooperatives began sending students in 1957. In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate the program. Today, more than 1,700 young people and chaperones participate in the Youth Tour each year.
Youth Tour alums can apply for the Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation scholarship, which encourages educational advancement by awarding higher education scholarships to eligible students. The Glenn English Foundation has awarded almost $100,000 in scholarships to NRECA Youth Tour alums since the program began in 2014.
For more information about the tour, visit the NRECA's Youth Programs webpage.