Youth Tour

In June of each year, high school students from across the country gather in our nation’s capital to partake in a very special event.  They come to see the American history enshrined in Washington, D.C., and witness history being made.  They come to learn and share with others, but most of all, they come to have fun.   What event brings them together?  The National Rural Electric Cooperatives’ Association Youth Tour to Washington, D.C.

For over 50 years, cooperatives like Vigilante Electric have sent students on this transformative event.  The first coordinated tour was in 1964 and hosted approximately 400 participants from 12 states.  Today, there are roughly 2,000 delegates and staff participating in this tremendous event.

While in Washington, D.C., the youth cooperative representatives tour some of the finest museums in the world and visit America’s most historic monuments. They meet with their elected officials and explore Capitol Hill. They learn about the impact electric cooperatives make on their communities, as well as how programs like NRECA International  impact lives around the world.

Participants gain a personal understanding of American history and their roles as citizens. The tour for each student group is organized at the state level, which includes all students coming together for Youth Day. At Youth Day, they get to meet each other and hear featured speakers who provide insight to the important roles electric cooperatives play in their communities.

Nearly 50,000 students from rural areas and small towns across America have participated in this program. Some Youth Tour alumni have gone on to design airplanes, lead companies, and serve in the highest ranks of our government, including the U.S. Senate.

In 2003, Vigilante Electric started sending representatives to the Youth Tour, and the quality of these individuals over the years has been amazing.  In fact, the quality of our representatives has been so good, four have been selected to represent the State of Montana on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC).

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, but they also have a hands-on experience with every facet of the meeting, including the resolutions process and helping our members communicate with their legislators.