WHAT IS THE YOUTH TOUR?
South Alabama Electric Cooperative has always believed in educating members of our community about what makes the cooperative model special. It is especially important to teach our area’s students about the electric industry so they are prepared to make informed decisions in the future.
“Our young people will be the ones making decisions for this cooperative years from now,” says Andy Kimbro, manager of member services. “Those choices will impact everything from how electricity is generated to how much it costs to light our homes.”
The Youth Tour is a key way SAEC helps to educate students. Over its lifetime, the cooperative has sponsored hundreds of local students to visit both the Alabama state capital in Montgomery and our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.
The seed of the Youth Tour program goes back to former President Lyndon Johnson’s days as a senator when he addressed the 1957 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association annual meeting in Chicago.
Speaking to the NRECA, Johnson said, “If one thing goes 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 Youth Tour was born that summer, starting with a group of Texas cooperatives that sent some of its young members to work in Johnson’s office in Washington. The following year, cooperatives from Iowa and Illinois followed suit, sending buses full of students to the capital for weeklong study tours.
The Youth Tour has been an important part of educating young cooperative members across the country for more than 50 years since.
Today, the tour gives students from our own service area the chance to visit Montgomery, where they learn about the workings of state government and the part cooperatives play in shaping important policy.
“The trip gives our students a rare opportunity to visit the state capital on a two-and-a-half-day trip. They meet with their legislators, ask them questions and meet other students like them from around the state,” says Kimbro. “It’s also an early chance to start expanding and building on their leadership skills.”
Two students from the Montgomery Youth Tour are then selected for the D.C. Youth Tour, where they learn how rural electrification works on a national scale and how federal laws are made. They even meet their elected officials in person.
Both Youth Tours help young cooperative members learn important leadership skills and develop a thorough understanding of the cooperative mission.
SAEC is proud to be able to provide such a unique and formative opportunity for the future leaders of our community.
MONTGOMERY YOUTH TOUR
The 2023 Montgomery Youth Tour took place in March, and we're excited to share that the students selected to represent SAEC had an incredible time! They received an all-expenses-paid trip to join over 100 high school students from 17 cooperatives across the state who participated in the annual conference.
During the tour, the students were able to take part in leadership sessions that covered important topics such as transcending negative peer pressure and the value of teamwork. Additionally, they had the opportunity to tour several landmarks, including the Alabama State House, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Alabama Capitol, and the Civil Rights Memorial. It was truly an unforgettable experience for all who attended!
Image: Front row left to right: Abby Vickery, Ella Kate Tomlin, Elsie Clare Coppage, Avery Williams, Elli Knighten, Leslyie Alonozo
WASHINGTON YOUTH TOUR
The 2023 Washington Youth Tour in June will bring together more than 1,000 students from across the country. Of the group representing SAEC at the Montgomery Youth Tour, the cooperative will choose two top students to receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington.
D.C. Youth Tour attendees will visit famous national monuments and museums, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Newseum and many more. Students will also have the chance to meet their local congressional representatives, participate in leadership seminars, and sit in on important meetings and events relevant to local, state and national cooperatives.
Apply today WHO CAN APPLY?
If you’re a junior attending a high school in Pike, Coffee or Crenshaw County, or if your parents are members of SAEC, you’re eligible to apply for the Youth Tour.
MONTGOMERY YOUTH TOUR
Ten students will be selected to attend the Montgomery Youth Tour on March 10-12. Students will visit with their state representatives, meet students from other cooperatives, visit Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, hear motivational speakers and learn about rural cooperatives’ role in the history of Alabama.
WASHINGTON YOUTH TOUR
Of the 10 students selected for the Montgomery Youth Tour, two of those students will be selected to attend the Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. Those two students will visit their national representatives and meet students from across the country. They will also visit monuments and get a firsthand look at our nation’s history.
Additional informational media below
Alabama students visit Washington DC - Youth Tour
Electric Cooperative Youth Tour from across the nation
For more information contact SAEC at 800-556-2060.