All together for Youth Tour

An electric cooperative summer tradition returned with the annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. on June 14-21. This year’s group included more than 2,000 youth delegates, chaperones and staff, along with nearly four dozen bus drivers who chauffeured them in and around Washington, D.C. Forty-four states were represented. From Illinois, 54 young leaders representing 26 electric and telephone cooperatives across the state attended this year’s Youth Tour.

The 2024 event brought all delegates together over the course of one week, compared to being spread out over a two-week period during the past two years to accommodate pandemic concerns. “We’re back to one week, and we’re so happy that this year’s delegates had a full-strength experience,” said Beth Knudson, NRECA’s youth programs and training manager.

The formal Youth Day program took place June 19. It included a panel on the global impact of cooperatives. Motivational speaker Mike Schlappi, a wheelchair basketball player who has appeared in four consecutive summer Paralympic Games, also addressed the Youth Tour delegates.

“Youth Tour is a great opportunity that changes students’ lives,” said Brooke Gross, Youth Tour coordinator for Illinois. “After touring our nation’s capital and seeing firsthand how our government works, they return home with valuable knowledge that helps prepare them for the future and friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school students to visit Washington, D.C., meet their elected officials and learn about the cooperative program.

As of the publication of the July 2024 edition of Illinois Country Living magazine, Youth Tour was in progress. Be sure to check out the August 2024 issue for more coverage of the event.