Each year eight students from REC’s service territory have the opportunity to participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program. More than 1,800 high school students from across the United States travel to Washington, D.C., to explore key issues in the electric industry, study the cooperative business model, interact with students in team and leadership building programs, tour historical and cultural sites such as Arlington Cemetery, Fort McHenry, the Baltimore Aquarium, memorials on the National Mall, attend a show at the Kennedy Center and meet with their representatives in Congress.
The 2018 REC Youth Tour Delegates were:
- Natalie Heiser – Culpeper County High School – Culpeper County
- Nada Ismael – Liberty High School – Fauquier County
- Jeremy Petrie – Sherando High School – Frederick County
- Nathan Richardson – Massaponax High School – Spotsylvania County
- Abigail Varricchio – Millbrook High School – Frederick County
- Ainslie Whitmarsh – William Monroe High School – Greene County
- Karrington Wilson – Patrick Henry High School – Hanover County
- Kennedi Wilson – Patrick Henry High School – Hanover 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."
“It’s so great our cooperative wants to invest in us and really teach us to learn about our community, this country and also what cooperatives do in our community and why they are here to help us,” said Jeremy Petrie of Sherando High School. “We went to so many great places, met so many people and I know I’ve made some lifelong friends.”
The applications period for the 2019 Youth Tour program will open late in 2018. Applications will be downloadable here and will be available at local high schools.