Eighty-seven (87) high school juniors participated in Missouri’s 50th annual Missouri Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. June 14-20. Local delegates were Melissa Lamping, Troy, Zabada Abouelhana, Lake Saint Louis; Mary Burkemper, Old Monroe; Kelsey Castulik, St. Peters; Samantha Swoboda, Jonesburg, and Rachel Reckamp, Warrenton. They were sponsored by Cuivre River Electric Cooperative (CREC), Troy.
The seven-day tour provided an action-filled week for high school students, offering them opportunities to learn first-hand what it’s like to be involved in politics, community service and today’s pressing issues. Highlights included a special session on Capitol Hill with U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer to discuss the process of government, issues of the day and increasing their knowledge of cooperative electric utilities and American history.
“The passion for learning about democracy and government stood out among these young Missourians from across the state. They asked some really tough questions on everything from education related bills, health care to climate change legislation, and it’s great to see young people eager to learn and gain leadership skills. Building strong leaders out of today’s young people is essential to our nation’s future,” said U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer.
Missouri’s Youth Tour delegates also visited with U.S. Congressmen from their congressional districts, toured famous monuments, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Arlington National Cemetery. The group also attended a performance of Anything Goes at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and took a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River one evening with delegates from other states.
Other events of the week included participation in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Day program, during which a special program coordinated by NRECA brought together over 1,600 Youth Tour delegates from across the United States. The delegates enjoyed featured speeches by government leaders and motivational speakers, such as Mike Schlappi, an inspiring four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion.
Since 1964, CREC has sponsored 192 Youth Tour delegates for visits to their U.S. congressional delegations, energy and grassroots government education sessions, and sightseeing in Washington, D.C. More than 50,000 high school juniors and seniors sponsored by the nation’s electric cooperatives have participated in the Youth Tour since the educational leadership program began.
CREC provides electricity to more than 60,000 homes and businesses in Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties. For more information on the Youth Tour and Cuivre River Electric Cooperative visit www.cuivre.com or call 800-392-3709 ext. 230.