Logan Halverson and Dustin Toale of Independence recently participated in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program in Washington, D.C. sponsored by East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative. They spent six days in Washington, D.C., with 32 peers from the Iowa.
Each year in June, an action-filled week provides high school students opportunities to learn first-hand what it is like to be involved in politics, community service and today's pressing issues in the energy industry. Students met Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin as well as Reps. Bruce Braley, Leonard Boswell, Dave Loebsack, Tom Latham and Steve King. They also saw historic sites and met over 1,500 students from across the country who participated in their state's Youth Tour program.
The Iowa Electric Cooperatives' Youth Tour has been a joint effort of local electric co-ops, such as ECI REC, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Logan and Dustin said they had the experience of a lifetime meeting with peers from other states and IAEC staff during the Washington trip. "The Youth Tour was so amazing," Halverson said. Toale shared "It was really cool to meet my senator and representative, and learn about politics up-close. Plus, I made friends from nearly every state and experienced history first-hand. It really made me think about what it means to be an American, and show that people my age do care about this country."
In addition to taking in the sights of the nation's capital, all the state groups convened for National Youth Day, sponsored by NRECA, to learn from public figures and other inspirational speakers. This year's Youth Day agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic Medallist and two-time world Champion Wheelchair Basketball champion. Schlappi shares his inspiring message for every American, young or old: "Just because you can't stand up, doesn't mean you can't stand out."
For more information on how you can participate in Iowa Electric Cooperatives' Youth Tour program, contact us at 877-850-4343, or log onto ecirec.coop.
Since 1957, Iowa's electric cooperatives have sponsored over 1,300 high school juniors and seniors for visits to their U.S. congressional representatives in Washington, D.C. The IAEC is a Des Moines-based service organization for 42 Iowa electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to approximately 650,000 Iowans throughout the state.
For more information about the Iowa Electric Cooperatives' Youth Tour, please visit http://www.youthtour.coop.