Youth Tour/CYCLE Programs
What is Youth Tour?
Youth Tour is a trip that many previous students consider to be an opportunity of a lifetime! In 2018, Heather VanHorn and Tana Justice, Wellsville, earned the opportunity to represent Consolidated Electric as Youth Tour delegates.
The Youth Tour is a National Rural Electric Cooperative Association sponsored program that Consolidated Electric Cooperative has been a proud sponsor of for many years. Youth Tour was initiated to help educate America's youth about our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., and about the Rural Electric Cooperative system. Each year in June, approximately 100 high school juniors from Missouri join with nearly 1,500 other students from various cooperatives around the United States for a six-day tour through Washington D.C.
Each year CEC sends Youth Tour essay contest information to the Mexico, Community R-VI, Paris, North Callaway, Middletown, Centralia, Wellsville, Van-Far and Montgomery high schools. Every high school level junior is eligible to participate in the essay contest, even if they are not a Cooperative member. CEC sponsors two juniors every year to attend this ALL-EXPENSE-PAID trip!
The six-day tour provides an action-filled week for high school students, offering them opportunities to learn first-hand what it is like to be involved in politics, community service and pressing issues in our society. Highlights include a special session on Capitol Hill with U.S. Congressional figures to discuss the process of government, issues of the day and increase their knowledge of cooperative electric utilities and American history.
The young people are also given an opportunity to tour famous monuments, Mt. Vernon, the Smithsonian Institution and museums and Arlington National Cemetery. The group also takes time to attend either a Washington Nationals baseball game or a play and they have time built into their schedule to enjoy a sightseeing and dance cruise on the Potomac River with delegates from other states.
Other events of the week include participation in the Electric Youth Day, during which a special program coordinated by the NRECA brings together over 1,500 Youth Tour delegates from across the United States. The delegates enjoy featured speeches by government leaders and motivational speakers, such as Mike Schlappi, an inspiring four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion.
Who is eligible for the Youth Tour experience?
The Youth Tour Contest is open to all high school juniors living in or attending school in Consolidated Electric Cooperative's service area. Students attending high school or being home-schooled in the Centralia, Community R-6, Mexico, Montgomery County, North Callaway, Paris, Wellsville-Middletown or Van-Far school districts are eligibile to participate. Entrants are not required to be a Cooperative member. The immediate family members of employees or directors of Consolidated Electric Cooperative are not eligible.
How do you enter the contest?
Any high school junior, living in the CEC service territory, is eligible to compete in the contest. The challenge for each student lies in researching electric related topics and developing a creative approach while writing a 500-word essay (on a topic that has been chosen for them) to gain the judges attention. Anyone interested in the Youth Tour experience can contact the Cooperative at 573-581-3630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon entering, each student will receive information that outlines the information they will be writing about. Consolidated Electric provides the topic and some research resources. Click here for instructions and an application.
How are delegates selected?
The essays will be blind-judged, meaning that no names or identification is included when the judges from outside of Consolidated Electric read the essays. It is Cooperative policy to sponsor two delegates each year.
Additionally, two runners up will be chosen to attend the C.Y.C.L.E. (Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience)conference that is held annually in Jefferson City.
What is C.Y.C.L.E.?
The Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience a.k.a., the CYCLE program is a three day conference held in July each year in Jefferson City. Thirty Missouri Cooperatives send CYCLE delegates to the conference which brings in approximately 100 high school (will be) seniors from across the state. Two of those delegates will be from Consolidated Electric. The two runners up from the Youth Tour essay contest will be given the opportunity to attend the all-expense paid conference. The main goal of the conference is to show students more about electric cooperatives, teach leadership skills and experience Missouri state government.
The program includes nationally known speakers and a day at the state Capitol. Time at the conference isn't all about learning, there are many fun events scheduled throughout the three days. There is an outdoor barbeque and a hypnotist even visits one evening. The overall group is divided into small teams that compete in various events like the build a cooperative game that take place throughout the conference.
To learn more about the CYCLE program visit http://www.ruralmissouri.org/07pages/07SeptCYCLE.html.