Every June for the past 39 years, high school students from co-op families have attended the Electric Cooperatives Youth Tour — a weeklong leadership experience in Washington, D.C., sponsored by their co-op. Youth Tour is an experience unlike any other — full of fun, friends, and memories that last a lifetime.
While everyone at Ohio Cooperative Living would be delighted to discover that the high school student in your family already reads our magazine, if that’s not typically the case, we recommend sharing this list of reasons that your high school student should apply for the 2018 Youth Tour.
1. It’s not like your school trip to D.C.
Ohio schools put together trips to Washington all the time. In fact, the majority of students who go on Youth Tour from Ohio have already been there at least once. We specifically plan this trip to be different from those middle-school trips; we go to many places you probably didn’t visit on your school trip, and we give you more time to get an in-depth look at what D.C. has to offer. And unlike school trips…
2. You’ll meet new people — and yourself.
On Youth Tour, you’re not surrounded by people you already know. You’ll meet high school students from around the state and around the country — and you can be yourself in a way that you can’t when you’re around your current friends and classmates. Youth Tour provides an opportunity to come out of your shell and be the person you want to be — not just the person everyone thinks you are. Everyone comes on Youth Tour with a clean slate; it’s a fun, open environment where you can relax and make great new friends.
3. You’ll learn about co-ops: businesses that put people over profits.
Today’s young people don’t just want to work — they want to work with a purpose. Cooperatives, such as your electric co-op, are places to do just that. Cooperatives are not-for-profit companies governed by the people they serve — not by Wall Street investors. On Youth Tour, you’ll learn how cooperatives operate, how they make communities like yours a better place, and why they’re great places to build a career.
4. You can tell Congress what matters to you.
Each Youth Tour includes a day on Capitol Hill, where you’ll be given the opportunity to visit a congressional office. There, you can meet a member of Congress face-to-face and discuss the issues that are important to you. Your office visit will be with a small group, so it’s a prime opportunity to get to know a member of Congress in an unintimidating, personal setting. You’ll also meet congressional staff members and find out why and how they pursued careers in public service.
5. You’ll learn more about America’s rich, complex history.
Washington is an incredible melting pot of history and culture — and Youth Tour is the perfect place to engage with it like never before. Youth Tour includes stops at many of D.C.’s incredible museums, monuments, and memorials, including the Smithsonian museums of Air and Space, American History, Natural History, American Indian History, and African American History. We’ll visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Arlington National Cemetery — and also stop by the Gettysburg battlefield for a personal guided tour on our way to D.C. It’s a history buff’s dream.
6. It’s fun!
Youth Tour is a blast. Even with a full schedule, we still provide plenty of downtime for you to get to know your fellow Youth Tour students — you can hang out, play card games, and just relax and have a good time. The trip also includes several social events where you can meet students from other states.
7. It’s free!
That’s right — this experience comes at no cost to you and your family. The trip, including meals, is entirely paid for by your cooperative. Just bring some extra money for souvenirs, and that’s it. It’s another amazing perk of your family’s membership in an Ohio electric cooperative.
8. It could be just the beginning.
Each state, including Ohio, selects one student to represent the state on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). If you are chosen by your peers to serve as Ohio’s YLC delegate, you’ll attend a conference with your fellow delegates in D.C. in July — followed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., in March 2019. Additionally, our YLC delegate will also receive a $1,000 scholarship from Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives.
There are so many reasons to apply for Youth Tour — and these just scratch the surface. To learn more about Youth Tour or other youth programs that your cooperative might offer, call your co-op office or visit its website.