National Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Develops Future Leaders

Seven local high school students who live in the REC service territory enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience during the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., June 14-18. While touring the nation's capital, these students learned how to become involved in the legislative process and in their local communities.

Area high school students Zachary Wright of Ruckersville, Bethany Melvin of Winchester, Elizabeth Hipple of Tappahannock, Shane Glennon of Warrenton, Richard Vo of Front Royal, Cristina Montemorano of Sumerduck and Annelise Kyle of Jeffersonton participated in the annual tour hosted by REC and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). These seven students joined more than 1,700 of their peers from other electric cooperatives across the United States.

Brian Wolfe, REC’s public relations specialist, said. "Attending Youth Tour is an opportunity that if a student is fortunate to earn could change their life. This experience helps prepare these students for their futures. After touring our nation’s capital, meeting congressional representatives, and learning first-hand about how our government operates, they return home with knowledge they may not have learned anywhere else at this age, and memories that will last a lifetime."

The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Reps. Robert Wittman and Barbara Comstock. They also visited a variety of historical and cultural sites in the nation’s capital, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and the Newseum. Among fun activities the students enjoyed were a twilight cruise on the Potomac and a performance of "Shear Madness" at the Kennedy Center.

"Youth Tour was an amazing experience," Zachary Wright added. "It was incredible to meet our elected officials and learn about politics up-close. Plus, we made new friends from nearly every state and experienced history firsthand. It really made us think about what it means to be an American, and shows that people our age do care about this country."

Since 1964, the nation's cooperative electric utilities have sponsored 60,000 high school juniors and seniors to visit Washington, D.C., talk one-on-one with their U.S. congressional delegations and learn from energy and grassroots government education sessions. NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.

For more information about Youth Tour, visit To learn how you can participate in Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour program, contact Brian Wolfe at 1.800.552.3904 ext. 5914.

REC provides electric service to nearly 160,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, the Cooperative manages more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.