One hundred and three high school students participated in Missouri's 60th annual Missouri Electric Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., June 12-18. Local delegates were (left to right) Mia Mason of Lesterville and Leah Thompson of Fredericktown. They were sponsored by Black River Electric Cooperative.
The Missouri Electric Cooperative Youth Tour provides an action-filled week for high school students, offering them opportunities to learn firsthand what it is like to be involved in politics, leadership positions, community service and today’s pressing issues. Highlights of the trip include the Missouri delegates visiting with representatives from their congressional districts, touring monuments, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, Arlington National Cemetery and the International Spy Museum. The group also took a sightseeing and cruise on the Potomac River one evening with the delegations from five other states.
Other events of the week included participation in the Electric Youth Day, during which a special program coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association brought together over 1,000 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, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 56,000 high school juniors and seniors for visits to their U.S. congressional delegations, energy and grassroots government education sessions and sightseeing in Washington.
Each year, one delegate is chosen to represent Missouri on the national Youth Leadership Council. Leah Thompson of Black River Electric Cooperative has been selected as this year's representative. Among other activities during the year, she'll have the opportunity to engage in leadership experiences with the YLC delegates, represent Missouri at the NRECA Annual Meeting in March and address the 2024 Missouri's Electric Cooperatives Youth Tour delegates next year. Leah is the first-ever YLC Delegate selected from BREC. “Congratulations to Leah, she is certainly deserving of the selection and we’re excited to have her representing BREC. We also appreciate the support from our Board to continue promoting youth leadership opportunities in our service area,” said John Singleton, BREC General Manager.