Rural Missouri - February 2013 - (Page 19)

Since 1964, Missouri’s electric cooperatives have sponsored a trip for high school students to Washington, D.C., for a week of touring the nation’s capital, learning about cooperatives and meeting with politicians. A visit to the U.S. Capitol Building in 1966, left, and in 2011, right, is a favorite among delegates. Our History with Missouri’s Future Leaders Through Youth Tour and CYCLE programs, Missouri’s electric cooperatives help kids develop leadership skills and co-op knowledge E by Heather Berry page design by Kyle Spradley lectric cooperatives always have had a strong commitment to their local youth. It’s all part of a much larger “Commitment to Community,” one of the seven cooperative principles that guide our member-owned organizations. Each summer, a majority of Missouri’s electric cooperatives back that commitment by sending nearly 200 youth, most entering their senior year of high school, on two different trips with similar goals. “The Youth Tour and CYCLE programs are two great ways our cooperatives can get involved with helping develop leadership potential in our younger members,” says Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. “The future economic viability of rural communities depends on the cooperatives developing their rural leadership. These kids are our future.” By encouraging their younger members to write essays about rural electrification, Missouri’s participating electric co-ops hope to plant a seed that will grow into an appreciation of the nation’s past and perhaps a stronger understanding of what their grandparents or great-grandparents mean when they talk about “the day the lights came on.” The Youth Tour was inspired by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson in 1957 when he asked rural electric leaders to, “send youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.” The following year, electric cooperatives in Iowa accepted that challenge and sent the first group of young people on a weeklong tour of our nation’s Capitol. Soon, more states joined and the name Youth Tour was coined. The tour is coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Washington, D.C., organization for the nation’s 905 rural electric systems. This marks the 50th year for Missouri’s participation in the Youth Tour. In 1964, 22 of Missouri’s electric cooperatives sent 58 students to Washington, D.C. Last June, 30 co-ops sent 89 delegates, bringing the total to nearly 3,400 Missouri youth whose lives have been impacted by what is often called “the trip of a lifetime.” “Being involved in Youth Tour was pivotal in influencing my staunch political activism,” says Valerie Morrow, who represented Ozark Electric Coop(See Youth on page 20) From Missouri’s Youth Tour in 1966, left, to last year’s trip led by Mike Marsch, right, the bus has always been a means of transporting high school students around Washington, D.C. Marsch, director of member services for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, has been a part of Youth Tour for more than 20 years. FEBRUARY 2013 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2013

Rural Missouri - February 2013
Table of Contents
A lasting tribute
Preparing for the worst
Whittling wildlife
Out of the Way Eats
Our history with Missouri’s future leaders
Hearth and Home
The cowboy way of life
Co-ops care
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - February 2013