Youth Tour

Youth Tour PhotoEach year, starting in February, Ouachita Electric Cooperative begins taking applications for the Electric  Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington. We spread the word through Arkansas Living magazine and in the schools. And best of all, Youth Tour alumni tell their friends about this amazing opportunity. 

Arkansas’ electric cooperatives began sponsoring the tour in 1990. Since then, hundreds of young Arkansans have gone on this trip and been inspired by the sites they see. They learn about the sacrifices others have made and what it truly means to be an American. They walk on the grounds where George  Washington walked. They walk the halls of the U.S. Capitol where the nation’s laws are crafted. They make new friends and dream new dreams. Many students  believe it will be too hard to win this trip, or that it will take too much effort to write an essay or sit for an interview. Some are encouraged to apply by their teachers while others learn about it from their parents or grandparents who see the promotion in this magazine. Many say they almost didn’t try. But ask any past Youth Tour winner and they will inevitably say they are glad they did. It truly is a trip of a lifetime. 

During the tour, the group visits historic sites such as Mount Vernon, the World War II Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, the various museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and Arlington National Cemetery, among other sites. The Arkansas group also meets students from 44 other states who are visiting Washington as part of the tour.
Electric cooperatives from these states sponsor students just as we do. In addition, one student will be selected from each state to serve on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which represents electric cooperatives across the nation and coordinates the Youth Tour. 

By sponsoring the Youth Tour, Ouachita Electric Cooperative is providing opportunities to help our youth grow and learn. By doing this, we are working to fulfill one of the “Seven Cooperative Principles” that guide our member-owned business – commitment to community. Just as we help build the state by providing affordable and reliable energy, we are working to help build leaders for tomorrow. And we believe that is a very good commitment and investment to make.

The 2018 Youth Tour is set for June 8-14.

Competition Details

If you apply for the 2018 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, you might be chosen for the week-long trip to Washington, D.C. The trip, which is sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, includes tours of major sites in Washington, such as the U.S. Capitol; the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Jefferson, Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam, Korean and World War II memorials. 

This spring, Ouachita Electric Cooperative will select two high school juniors to attend the 2018 tour, which is set for June 8-14. The winners will be selected through an essay contest. Applicants must be high school juniors and their parents/guardians must be members of Ouachita Electric Cooperative.

The Arkansas group will travel to Washington and return to Little Rock by air. Once in Washington, the students will join about 1,700 students from
across the nation who are attending the tour thanks to their local electric co-ops. 

Why do we do this? The answer is simple. Ouachita Electric Cooperative is committed to its members and to the communities it serves. Through the Youth Tour, we are helping Arkansas’ youth learn more about the workings of their nation’s government and the electric cooperatives, as well as develop leadership skills.
For more information, contact Angie McLendon at 870-837-3615 or amclendon@oecc.com

The deadline for entries is March 16, 2018.

To learn more about the Youth Tour, visit: www.youthtour.coop.

Don’t miss out on this incredible, life-changing opportunity. It’s a trip of a lifetime!

Download the 2018 Youth Tour Application



2017 Youth Tour Winners

Two high school students from Ouachita Electric's service area have been selected to travel to Washington, D.C. in June to attend the 2017 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The seven day trip, sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, includes tours of the major sites in and around Washington, such as the White House, U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, Mount Vernon, the museums of the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery and the FDR, Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean and World War II Memorials. Jayln Bounds, Arkansas Virtual Academy, and Wyatt Williams, Bearden High School, will be representing Ouachita Electric on the trip, which is set for June 9-15. They were selected through an essay contest. These two students, along with approximately 40 other students from the electric cooperatives across Arkansas, will travel to Washington, D.C. where they will join about 1,600 students from across the nation who are attending the tour. Through the Youth Tour, these students will have the opportunity to learn more about their nation's government and electric cooperatives, as well as develop leadership skills. Congratulations Jayln and Wyatt! We hope you enjoy your trip!



2016 Youth Tour Winners

Two high school students from Ouachita Electric’s service area have been selected to travel to Washington, D. C. in June to attend the 2016 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The eight-day trip, sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, includes tours of the major sites in and around Washington, such as the White House, U. S. Capitol, Library of Congress, Mount Vernon, the museums of the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery and the FDR, Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean and World War II Memorials.

Photo of Shalexis Shelton Photo of Natalie Ferguson
Shalexis Shelton Natalie Ferguson

 

Shalexis Shelton and Natalie Ferguson, both students at Hampton High School, will be representing Ouachita Electric on the trip, which is set for June 8-16. They were selected through an essay contest. These two students, along with approximately 40 other students from electric cooperatives across Arkansas, will travel to Washington, D. C. where they will join about 1,600 students from across the nation who are attending the tour. Through the Youth
Tour, these students will have the opportunity to learn more about their nation’s government and the electric cooperatives, as well as develop leadership skills.

To learn more about the Youth Tour, visit: www.ecark.com and www.youthtour.coop.
 

Photo of the capitol buildingYouth Tour History

Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting in Chicago 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." Consequently, some Texas electric cooperatives sent groups of young people to Washington to work during the summer in Senator Johnson's office. In 1958, a rural electric cooperative in Iowa sponsored the first group of 34 young people on a weeklong study tour of the nation's capital. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois. The idea grew and other states sent busloads of young people throughout the summer. By 1959, the "Youth Tour" had grown to 130 youths.

In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the state delegations and suggested that co-op representatives from each state arrange to be in Washington, D.C. during Youth Tour week. The first year of the coordinated tour included approximately 400 young people from 12 states. Word of the program has continued to spread and today, more than 1,300 young people and their chaperones participate in the Youth Tour every year.

The statewide Youth Tour directors arrange their delegation's visits to their U.S. Representatives' and Senators' offices, federal agencies, and other educational and sightseeing activities. In addition to the planned statewide activities, the Youth Tour experience encompasses multi-state activities coordinated by NRECA.

Ouachita Electric has sponsored youth from our service area for many years. Students compete for the opportunity to participate by submitting an essay. Watch for details in the Rural Arkansas magazine for future Rural Electric Youth Tours.

Download the 2018 Application here

test

Need H.E.L.P? 

You could qualify, click here to learn more and apply.