Local Students Discover D.C. and Cooperatives

June 22, 2017

When more than 1,800 high school students from across the United States travel to Washington, D.C., what does it mean? It's time for the annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour! This year seven students from REC's service territory had the opportunity to participate in this national program.

These students were selected as the best representatives from a diverse group of applicants. Together with chaperones from REC they spent a week touring Washington and learning how critical it is to become involved in the legislative process and in their local communities.

2017 REC Youth Tour Delegates

  • Zuri Hicks - Massaponax High School - Spotsylvania County
  • Kevin Korkiewicz - St. Michaels the Archangel - Orange County
  • Niall Lowrie - Caroline County High School - Caroline County
  • Matthew Myers - Culpeper County High School - Culpeper County
  • Evan Phaup - Patrick Henry High School - Hanover County
  • McKenzie Smith - William Monroe High School - Greene County
  • Kaylee Wedding - Massaponax High School - Spotsylvania County

Youth Tour was inspired by Sen. Lyndon Baines Johnson when he addressed the NRECA Annual Meeting in 1957. The senator and future president declared, "If one thing goes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents."

"Youth Tour was such an awesome opportunity for not only learning about cooperatives and the political process, but forming lifelong friendships," said Niall Lowrie. "And I loved learning about how much of an impact cooperatives have on our society and how many there actually are."

REC's students explored key issues in the electric industry, studied the cooperative business model, interacted with students in team and leadership building programs, toured historical and cultural sights, and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game. They also viewed "The Sound of Music" at the Kennedy Center.

"Youth Tour is an amazing opportunity for these students," said Brian Wolfe, Youth Tour coordinator at REC. "Not only do they meet their elected representatives, but they also interact with their peers from across the country and visit important historical and cultural sites. They return home with new friendships, memories and knowledge that will last a lifetime."

REC provides electric service to over 164,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative operates and maintains 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.

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Youth Tour Picture Students from REC's service territory visited Washington, D.C., as part of the 2017 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Front row left to right: McKenzie Smith and Kaylee Wedding. Back row left to right: Matthew Myers, Zuri Hicks, Niall Lowrie, Kevin Korkiewicz and Evan Phaup.

Youth Tour Picture Youth Tour students Evan Phaup, Niall Lowrie, Kevin Korkiewicz and Zuri Hicks speak with Congressman Dave Brat during the 2017 Youth Tour.

Youth Tour PictureREC's students met with Congressman Rob Wittman during the 2017 Youth Tour.