What do you get when three students from Delaware Electric Cooperative’s service territory join 1,800 of their peers from across the United States? Why, you get the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour! These rising high school seniors were selected from a diverse group of applicants to enjoy an all- expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., from June 10-14 as part of the 54th Annual Youth Tour:
Taylor Davis, Smyrna
Grace Sekscinski, Lincoln
Kegan Walker, Magnolia
The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Senator Chris Coons. They also visited a variety of historical and cultural sites in the nation’s capital, including the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Fort McHenry and the Newseum. Students enjoyed fun activities, including a a twilight cruise on the Potomac, a Baltimore Orioles baseball game, a live performance of “The Scottsboro Boys,” and a visit to the National Aquarium. Their trip was sponsored by DEC and coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
As part of National Youth Day on June 11, all of the state groups convened to learn from inspirational speakers. This year’s agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time wheelchair basketball world champion, who shared his inspiring message, “Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out!”
Since 1964, the nation’s electric cooperative utilities have sponsored 70,000 high school juniors and seniors to visit Washington, D.C., allowing them to talk one-on-one with their U.S. congressional delegations and to learn from energy and grassroots government-education sessions. NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.
“Youth Tour was an amazing experience,” the students agreed. Davis added, “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 first-hand. It really made us think about what it means to be an American, and shows that people our age do care about this country.”
Sekscinski, who was chosen to represent Delaware on NRECA’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC), returned to Washington, D.C., in July for a workshop to develop her public-speaking skills. YLC is composed of one student from each state selected by their chaperones and peers. Youth delegates play an active role in NRECA’s Annual Meeting, being held in the spring of 2019.
“Our youth are our future, and we’re proud to continue giving them the tools to succeed,” said Kevin Yingling, chaperone for the Delaware students.
For more information about the Youth Tour Program, visit
www.youthtour.coop or contact Kevin Yingling at: