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BEC 2018 Washington D.C. Youth Tour Applications Now Open

Beartooth Electric Cooperative is proud to announce it will, once again, sponsor an all-expense paid trip for a high school sophomore or junior to attend the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, DC. This year's Youth Tour is being held June 9-15, with an orientation meeting in Great Falls on June 8. The Youth Tour will bring together more than 1,500 students representing 44 states. Participants will see all that Washington, D.C. has to offer while learning about the history of the United States and the electric cooperative movement and role in American history.

This is an opportunity for students to meet with Montana's Congressional Delegation on Capitol Hill and tour Washington D.C. and surrounding historical sights. To participate in this program, students must be current high school sophomores or juniors and their parent(s) or guardian(s) must receive their electric service from Beartooth Electric Cooperative. Final selection for the Youth Tour will be made by the BEC board based upon an application and essay on this year’s topic, “Electric cooperatives offer various opportunities to young people, such as scholarships, job shadowing, electrical safety programs and sponsorships. What are some innovative ways your electric cooperative can connect with young people, especially with children and teens?” The deadline to apply is December 15, 2017. For additional information and to obtain an application, contact your high school counselor, visit our website http://www.beartoothelectric.com/content/bec-youth-programs or contact the BEC office. Questions? Please contact Kaaren Robbins via email at krobbins@beartoothelectric.com or by phone at 406-446-2310.

Origins and 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 comes 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 week-long study tour of our 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 students.

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 1,500 students and over 250 chaperones participate in the Youth Tour every year.

Youth Tour directors from each state association 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.

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