Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 13

by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop

F

or some, it's their first trip out of the Show-Me State.
For more, it's their first flight on an airplane. For
most, it's their first trip to their nation's capital city.
However, for all of them, there is no doubt that it's
the trip of a lifetime.
For more than 50 years, Missouri's electric cooperatives
have selected their area's best and brightest soon-to-be
high school seniors and sent them to Washington, D.C., for
a week of monuments, museums, meetings and memories.
" The students that are selected for Youth Tour are the
cream of the crop. They're already leaders in their schools
and communities. They aren't just given the trip, they earn
it through writing essays and giving speeches, " says Chris
Massman, vice president of member services for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. " Youth Tour gives
them a chance to expand their horizons and visit a part
of our country that is rich with culture and history. They
bring those experiences back with them to enhance their
local communities. "
The history of Youth Tour dates back to 1957 when
then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson spoke at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting. He

pressed the electric cooperative leaders from across the
country to invest in the nation's youth. " 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. "
The following year, groups from both Iowa and Illinois
took on the senator's challenge and sent students to D.C.
In 1959, it grew to 130 students. Missouri joined in 1964
with 22 Show-Me State electric cooperatives sending 58
students. That was the first year NRECA began to coordinate the annual event bringing students from across the
country to Washington at the same time.
Before COVID-19 paused the traditional Youth Tour in
2020 and 2021, more than 1,750 students and chaperones
made the annual pilgrimage to the nation's capital every
June. Missouri's delegation has grown to more than 100.
The trip offers students not only the chance to take in the
memorable and historic sites of D.C., but also allows them
to step out of their comfort zone and make new friends.
" It's this electric combination of having so many young
leaders, the excitement of being far from home - a first big
trip for many - and recognizing they have the opportunity to spend just about a week being whoever they want to
be, " says NRECA Youth Programs and Training Manager

JUNE 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

June21_Youth Tour.indd 2

13

5/6/21 10:20 AM


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Rural Missouri - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 7
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 8
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 9
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 10
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Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 12
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Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover4
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