|(Left to right) Bristian Gerber, Zachary Fischels, and Morgan Weber took part in the 2015 Youth Tour to Washington, D.C.|
ECI REC sent two local high school students to Washington, D.C., in mid-June as part of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Bristian Gerber of Vinton-Shellsburg High School and Zachary Fischels of Independence High School traveled to the nation’s capital with a delegation of 35 students and 5 chaperones, representing not-for-profit electric cooperatives across Iowa. Joining them was Morgan Weber of Jesup High School, also from ECI REC’s service area, who won a Youth Tour trip in IAEC’s Living with Energy in Iowa magazine essay contest.
The national Youth Tour program is coordinated by statewide electric cooperative associations and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). In 1958, Iowa’s electric cooperatives began sending student leaders to the nation’s capital each summer where they get an up-close look at the political process while also touring national museums, monuments, and memorials. Students also learn more about the role not-for-profit electric cooperatives play in providing safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable power to members.
“Electric cooperatives are about more than poles and wires—they’re about people and communities,” said Steve Marlow, ECI REC CEO. “We’re proud to support this youth leadership program as we educate a new generation of co-op members.”
On the Youth Tour, students met with their elected legislators, talked to staff from NRECA and other organizations, and gained a personal understanding of American history and their role as American citizens. Most of the students were financially sponsored by their local co-op and were selected to attend based on their community involvement, interest in government, and academic performance. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many rural students who are visiting Washington, D.C., for the first time.
About the Youth Tour
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students from across America to Washington, D.C., for over 50 years. Students apply and are selected for this program by their local electric cooperative. A total of nearly 50,000 students have participated in this program since its creation. For more information, visit www.youthtour.coop.