Thirty-seven high school students representing Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives were in Washington, D.C., from June 8-14. They joined more than 1,800 other students from across the nation for the 2018 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Iowa’s electric cooperatives were the first to send students to Washington, D.C., back in 1958; this year marks the sixtieth anniversary of that journey.
“The Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students, and we’re proud to send 37 of Iowa’s best and brightest to our nation’s capital this year to participate,” said Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. “These students gained a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and made connections with other student leaders from across the country that will last a lifetime. We look forward to continuing the Youth Tour tradition for years to come.”
This year, Brock Ortner and Sarah Collison represented East-Central Iowa REC.
Brock Ortner attends Vinton-Shellsburg High School and is the son Michael and Laurie Ann Ortner of Shellsburg. Brock is a member of the National Honor Society, and some of his school activities include participating in five honor bands, jazz band, football, soccer, and FFA, where he has been awarded Outstanding FFA Member for his grade. Activities outside of school include 4-H, church youth group, Operation Backpack, and an annual bingo fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. Brock also operates a small of herd of cattle.
Sarah Collison attends East Buchanan High School and is the daughter of Ronald and Pamela Collison of Rowley. Sarah is a National Honor Society member, and her school activities include concert and jazz band, concert and chamber choir, large group speech, FFA, softball, basketball, volleyball, and golf. Activities outside of school include 4-H, church youth group, Lady Bucs Club volleyball, and volunteering at the concession stands during the Rowley Days celebrations.
Students on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour participated in leadership training, engaged in one-on-one conversations with elected officials, jumpstarted their national peer network, learned about electric cooperatives, and toured the monuments and museums of Washington, D.C.
Students apply and are selected for this program by their local electric cooperatives. Nationally, nearly 50,000 students have participated in this program over the decades. For more information, visit www.youthtour.coop.