Students join Choptank Electric for NRECA Youth Tour

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Five students, sponsored by Choptank Electric Cooperative, from Maryland’s Eastern Shore enjoyed an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. June 14-18 as part of the 51st annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour.

DENTON — Five students, sponsored by Choptank Electric Cooperative, from Maryland’s Eastern Shore enjoyed an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. June 14-18 as part of the 51st annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour. These rising high school seniors joined 1,700 other students from across the nation who participated in this event:

• Abigail Barcus, The Gunston School
• James Geleta, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
• Patrick Geleta, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
• Mary Katheryn Joy, North Caroline High School
• Helen Wiley, North Caroline High School

This year marks Choptank Electric Cooperative’s 50th year of participation in the NRECA’s Youth Tour. The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Rep. Andy Harris and aides of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. They also visited a variety of historical and cultural sites in the nation’s capital, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and the Newseum. Among fun activities the students enjoyed were a twilight cruise on the Potomac and a performance of “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center.

As part of NRECA-sponsored National Youth Day on June 15, all of the state groups convened to learn from inspirational speakers. This year’s agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic Medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion. Mr. Schlappi shared his inspiring message: “Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out!”

Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school juniors and seniors to visit their U.S. congressional delegations, learn from energy and grassroots government education sessions, and sightsee in Washington, D.C. NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.

“Youth Tour was amazing,” the students agreed. Abigail Barcus added, “It was really cool to meet our elected officials and learn about politics up-close. Plus, we made new friends from nearly every state and experienced history first-hand. It really made us think about what it means to be an American, and shows that people our age do care about this country.”

Katie Joy, who was chosen to represent her state on NRECA’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC), will be returning to Washington, D.C. in July for a workshop to develop her public speaking skills. YLC is composed of one student from each state selected by their chaperones and peers who play an active role in NRECA’s Annual Meeting the following spring.

“Our youth are our future, and we’re proud to continue giving them the tools to succeed,” said Kevin Wright, one of the students’ chaperones.

For more information about the Youth Tour Program, visit http://www.youthtour.coop. To learn how you can participate in Choptank’s Electric Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour program, contact Kevin Wright or Beth Hallett at 1-877-892-0001.

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