Local Students Join National SEC Youth Tour Of D. C.

Published 11:44 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

CREWE – Eight students from across Southside Virginia recently enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program. Sponsored by Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC), the June 14 -18 trip marked the 51st anniversary of the national program.

The following rising high school seniors joined over 1,700 students from across the country at this year’s Youth Tour: Lenice Araiza, Rustburg High School; Onjala Baker, Nottoway High School; Jacob Booth, Rustburg High School; Erin Copeland, Prince Edward County High School; Lauren Foore, Amelia County High School; Conner Francis, William Campbell High School; Ratib Stwodah, Prince Edward County High School; Mary Thomas, Appomattox County High School.

SEC’s Youth Tour delegates had the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill where they met with 4th District U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes. Students also met U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, of Virginia’s 5th District, who took them on a personal tour of the U.S. Capitol Building. Youth Tour participants visited a variety of historical and cultural sites in the nation’s capital, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, National Museum of Natural History and the Newseum. The students also enjoyed a twilight cruise on the Potomac River and attended a performance of “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center.

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As part of “National Youth Day” on June 15 and sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), youth delegates from around the country listened to several inspirational speakers. This year’s agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic Medalist and two-time world champion in wheelchair basketball. Schlappi shared his inspiring message, “Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out!”

SEC Youth Tour delegate Conner Francis noted, “It was really cool 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 electric cooperatives have sent more than 60,000 high school juniors and seniors on the Youth Tour program. Activities include visiting U.S. congressional delegations, sightseeing in Washington D.C., and learning about energy and grassroots issues. NRECA is the national service organization that represents more than 900 member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.

For more information about the Youth Tour Program, visit youthtour.coop. To learn how you can participate in Southside Electric Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour program, contact Jacob McCann at (800) 552-2118 ext. 3288.

Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) is a not-for-profit member-owned energy provider that serves over 55,000 homes, farms and businesses in portions of 18 counties in central and southern Virginia. Headquartered in Crewe, SEC has district offices in Altavista, Crewe, Dinwiddie and Powhatan.