For more than 50 years, high school students representing North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have traveled to Washington, D.C., on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Last year, the event was canceled due to the global pandemic, but the Youth Tour was back as an expanded virtual program this summer.
“When we moved this year’s Youth Tour to a virtual format due to COVID-19 concerns, we wanted to make sure we delivered an interactive experience where these talented students could learn and interact with one another,” said Paul Mott, Youth Tour coordinator and grassroots specialist for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Upon meeting the students on the first day of Youth Tour, we knew we had a special group. These students were just as eager to connect with their peers and learn about co-ops, our government, and important life skills as any other group we’ve had in-person.”
Over six days in June, students signed on to 16 virtual sessions that covered topics including the cooperative principles, money management, and a virtual tour of a Harnett County microgrid that is a partnership between Butler Farms, South River EMC and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
Youth Tour participants also met with their members of Congress, who discussed how government works and offered career advice to the rising high school seniors.
“Throughout the week, students displayed their intelligence and maturity with the questions they asked of their members of Congress, other speakers and each other,” Mott said. “These students have a bright future ahead of them, and we can’t wait to see what they will accomplish.”