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Rural Electric Youth Tour

Hayden Finley of Sibley and Emily Allen of Homer have been selected to represent Claiborne Electric in the all-expenses-paid 2018 Rural Electric Youth Tour Program.

In June, Finley and Allen will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will join more than 1,500 students from nearly 40 states for the Rural Electric Youth Tour.

To prepare for their summer journey, the students participated in a youth leadership summit on May 2 in Baton Rouge, where they met their touring companions, took part in leadership training exercises, and participated in educational sessions. The summit brought together Youth Tour delegates representing electric cooperatives throughout the state. The group of nearly 30 students will travel together to Washington for the Youth Tour program. Youth Tour administrator Joni Kitchen was on hand to review the trip agenda, meet with parents and answer questions. The students also met the trip’s other chaperones.

The Youth Tour calls for visits to many of Washington’s most well-known sites, including the Smithsonian Museum complex, Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, Lincoln Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court Building, and the Library of Congress.

While in Washington, D.C., the Louisiana representatives will learn more about electric cooperatives, attend social functions such as a yacht cruise down the Potomac River, and receive leadership training.

The Washington Youth Tour was inspired in 1957 by Senator and future President Lyndon B. Johnson. During his address to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) that year, he urged attendees to send young people to the nation’s capital so they could see first-hand how the government works.

The following summer, cooperatives did just that, and what was first known as the Rural Electric Youth Tour was born.

In 1959, 130 youths attended the tour. NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the states in 1964. Today, more than 1,500 youths attend the conference each year and more than 45,000 students have participated in the tour.

“This is an outstanding program and an excellent opportunity for the students to have a wonderful experience they’ll remember forever,” said Claiborne Electric General Manager Mark Brown.

Hayden Finley attends Lakeside High School, and Emily Allen attends Claiborne Academy. Claiborne Electric’s Rural Electric Youth Tour contest was open to any student who lives in a home or attends a school which receives power from Claiborne Electric. To enter, students submitted a letter to an elected official about a topic important to them. 

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