Youth Tour gains momentum

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA’s) Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is back in the nation’s capital this year with participant numbers approaching pre-pandemic levels.

More than 1,800 youth delegates and chaperones attended at different times over a two-week period, from June 13 to 23. That’s a solid increase over last year’s 1,300 attendees and not far below the 2,000 who attended in 2019 before a two-year pandemic hiatus. Forty-four states were represented this year, compared to 28 in 2022.

“We are still feeling the effects of the pandemic,” said Beth Knudson, NRECA’s youth programs and training manager. “Not having our in-person program in 2020 or 2021 put a dent in our applications simply because we don’t have those recent attendees in our pipeline to promote the program at school. But we’re getting there.”

From Illinois, 52 young leaders representing their electric and telephone cooperatives across the state attended this year’s Youth Tour. They departed for Washington, D.C. on June 16 and returned June 23. Be sure to check out the August 2023 issue of Illinois Country Living magazine for coverage of the event.