Rural Electric Youth Tour

Claiborne Electric Cooperative is holding a contest to select two high school juniors as the winners of an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June 2020.

The winners will join a delegation of other high school students from Louisiana in traveling to the nation’s capital next summer for the Rural Electric Youth Tour. During the week, the students will learn how the nation’s rural electric cooperatives work. They will be treated to a comprehensive tour of many of Washington’s most famous sites. Students will also experience fun events with students from across the nation, as well as visits on Capitol Hill with the Louisiana congressional delegation.

The Rural Electric 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 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 students attend the conference each year and more than 45,000 students have participated in the tour.

Any high school junior who lives with a parent or guardian in a home served by Claiborne Electric is eligible to enter the contest. Also eligible are current high school juniors from any of the five high schools served by Claiborne Electric. These include Union Parish High School, Union Christian Academy, D’Arbonne Woods Charter School, Claiborne Academy and Lakeside High School.

To enter, each contestant must write an essay in the form of a letter to an elected official. Essays may discuss any topic that is important to the student, and should be addressed to the appropriate official. Essays should be at least 300 words in length. Students may state facts and statistics to support their essay, but writing with clear purpose will be equally as important. Essays will be coded for anonymity, so the name of the writer will not be known during the judging process. A panel of judges will review the essays and finalists will be determined. The winners of the trip will be selected from the group of finalists, based on the quality of the essay and other academic achievements and extracurricular activities.

Essays submitted become property of Claiborne Electric Co-op and may be published at the co-op’s discretion. All essays must be accompanied by a personal information form. The forms will also be included in information packets that are mailed to each high school in the six-parish area served by Claiborne Electric. All entries must be delivered electronically to by the end of the business day on Friday, January 31, 2020. Essays will be scanned for plagiarism detection.

“The Youth Tour 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.

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