Each 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.
If you apply for the 2019 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.
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!
Congratulations Alon Atkins & Ryan Sorrells - You’re on your way to Washington, D.C.!
2018 Youth Tour Winners
Ouachita Electric is once again a proud sponsor of The Rural Electric Youth Tour. The 2018 winners are Alon Atkins (Camden Fairview High) and Ryan Sorrells (Harmony Grove High). Atkins and Sorrells will soon be joining a group of about 1,700 high school students from across the nation attending the weeklong event in Washington. This visit will be a combination of education, history, and fun to our nation’s capital, as they will be touring national monuments and historic sites.
Each year Arkansas’17 electric distribution cooperatives sponsor young people in the educational adventure. Last year students from every part of the state participated in the trip. Many friendships were made during the tour – along with memories to last a lifetime.
The contest is open to high school juniors who live within Ouachita Electric Co-op’s service area. An essay contest determines who will be selected to attend.
The essays are judged on originality, composition, neatness and grammar. The trip is truly worth the effort of writing the essay.
Participants in the all-expense paid trip, with their chaperones, will leave Little Rock by plane on Saturday, June 9 and return on Thursday, June 14.
The only expense to the students will be personal spending money. Ouachita Electric’s directors and management are happy to have this opportunity to enhance the educational experiences of our local youth.
Congratulations Alon and Ryan. We hope you enjoy your trip!
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.
|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.
Youth Tour History
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.