For more than 50 years, teens from rural Illinois have been going to Washington, D.C. for the “trip of a lifetime” courtesy of their sponsoring electric and telephone cooperatives, the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Co-op delegates have toured some of the finest museums in the world and visited America’s most historic monuments. They have met with their elected officials, explored Capitol Hill and learned about the impact electric cooperatives have on their communities.
This year, due to COVID-19 and Center for Disease Control recommendations, the tour has been canceled for the first time in its history. It is a disappointment for everyone involved, especially students. However, the NRECA is hoping to proceed with the selection of a Youth Leadership Council (YLC) representative from each state. The Illinois YLC is being chosen from among 16 2019 delegates who submitted video interviews.
“While we are disappointed Youth Tour has been canceled this year, it is more important for everyone to stay safe,” said Ashley Graham, Illinois Youth Tour coordinator.
Most co-ops are offering to let their delegates attend the 2021 Youth Tour and all are eligible to apply for the Glenn English Scholarship in the future.