Youth leaders generate energy in D.C.

What does it take to generate additional energy in Washington, D.C.? How about sending more than 1,700 rural youth leaders, from across the United States, for a weeklong look at government in action?

Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives sponsored 69 Illinois high school students to the nation’s capital, June 9-16, for an experience of a lifetime. They all had the same common interests and value education and ­leadership. Since the 1950s, Illinois has been changing the lives of rural cooperative youth by sending them on the Youth to Washington Tour.

This year, 69 rural Illinois youth leaders were selected for the trip. They had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos, Mike Bost, Rodney Davis, John Shimkus and Adam Kinzinger. In addition to the Capitol, they also visited Gettysburg, Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington National Cathedral, several Smithsonian Museums, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, World War II Memorial, memorials to Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and Roosevelt, the National Archives, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, the Newseum and other historical sites.

During the trip, Faye Yang from Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative, was chosen by her peers to represent Illinois on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The YLC is a year-long appointment and Yang will represent Illinois’ state cooperatives at national and state meetings and events in the upcoming year.