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Continuing a Remarkable Tradition

Benjamin Franklin once said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.  At Vigilante Electric, we couldn’t agree more.  We find that true knowledge comes not only through education, but experience.  This is why I believe that the youth tour to Washington, D.C. is the most important youth program we support and a legacy worth continuing. 

For the past two years, the NRECA Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is still uncertainty around this event, it seems that there is renewed interest and a cooperative determination to make the Youth Tour happen in 2022.

The seed for this event can be traced back to the 1957 National Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting in Chicago when then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson addressed the participants: “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.”

In 1958, rural electric cooperatives in Iowa sponsored the first busload of youth on a weeklong study tour of the nation’s capital, and other states started picking up on the idea.  In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate the program.  Participating groups arranged to be in the city the same week, and there were about 400 young people from 12 states that year.

Vigilante Electric’s participation in this event started because an adventurous student by the name of Melissa Hibbard submitted an entry in an essay contest sponsored by our statewide association.  Her essay was one of two winning essays that received an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour.  Upon her return, we invited her to give a presentation for our board of trustees, and the rest is history.

In 2022, Vigilante Electric will send two deserving students on an adventure of a lifetime.  The dates are June 18-25, 2022.  To qualify, the student must be the dependent of a member of Vigilante Electric Cooperative and must currently be a sophomore or junior. Contest rules, applications, and a resource guide is available below.

Selection is based on the application and a short essay.  The topic is “What does the second cooperative principle mean to you and your community?” Applications and essays are due to the Vigilante Electric office by November 19, 2021.

The impact that this event has on its participants is truly remarkable.  It opens their eyes to a world that many have only seen on TV.  The tour inspires many students to push out of their “comfort zones,” instilling new-found confidence and an explorer’s attitude toward the world, all while making new lifelong friends.  So, if you are, or know, someone who would like to partake in this adventure, please apply or encourage them to apply.

Contest Rules                    Application                         Resource Guide

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