GRACEVILLE – Lauren Kinman of Chipley and Seth Alday of Altha were among nearly 1,700 high school students from 43 states who participated in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour held June 11-16, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Kinman and Alday were sponsored by West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) and represented Chipley High School (Kinman) and Altha School (Alday).
While in Washington, the students learned first-hand what it is like to be involved in politics, how our government operates and about how and why electric co-ops were formed. One highlight of the trip included meeting their elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate. They toured Arlington National Cemetery, the Capitol, and Mount Vernon. Students also visited various monuments and memorials including the Viet Nam, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and more. While in D.C., they also enjoyed the U.S. Marine Corps Band Sunset Parade; and a boat cruise and a dance on the Potomac River.
In 1964, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) began coordinating joint activities among 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 about 400 teens from 12 states.
As word spread, the program grew – and grew and grew to what it is today. WFEC has participated in the Youth Tour program since 1979, sending two students to our nation’s capitol each year since.
The Youth Tour program is open to all high school juniors whose parents or guardians are members of West Florida Electric Cooperative. Each high school within WFEC’s service area selects a representative for the State Youth Tour in the fall of each year. The selected representatives then go on to compete for the two slots available for the National Youth Tour. This year, a scholarship opportunity was added to the Youth Tour program. One $4,000 scholarship to Chipola College is awarded to a participant from each county served by WFEC. If you will be a junior during the 2016-2017 school year, see your school’s guidance counselor for more information about the Youth Tour or contact WFEC Youth Tour Coordinator, Candace Croft at email@example.com.