Wheatland To Send 3 Students on Youth Tour
Sponsored Trips to Washington DC, Colorado Teach Leadership
Wheatland Electric’s Board of Trustees has selected three students for Youth Tour trips courtesy of the cooperative. Wheatland selected Derian Garrison of Norwich High School and Essence Ratzlaff of South Haven High School for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., and Mallory Horton of Syracuse High School to attend the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, CO.
Since 2014, Wheatland has given all 13 high schools in its service territory an opportunity to nominate a student for Youth Tour consideration. This year six schools put students forward. The candidates submitted essays on the “the nature and philosophy of a cooperative business, comparing and contrasting it with an investor-owned corporation.” They also demonstrated how poised and articulate they could be during interviews with a panel of Wheatland’s board members.
“The students’ essays were a wonderful reminder about what makes cooperatives unique,” said Katie Eisenhour, one of the Wheatland board members in charge of the selection process. “I think our generation knows all that cooperatives have done for rural communities, and it’s nice to see that young people also recognize that contribution.”
Here are a few samples of what the winners had to say about cooperatives in their essays.
Derian Garrison: “Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, and equality… profits are put back into the cooperative to help run the business efficiently, or are returned to the customer owner.”
Essence Ratzlaff: “Electrical cooperatives were created to bring power to the rural areas… since investor-owned power companies refused to deliver power to these areas due to lower profit potential from having fewer customers per mile of powering.”
Mallory Horton: “The difference between the two is like the difference between earning an item and being given one. I worked really hard to earn enough money to buy myself a Nintendo DS a few years ago and I take care of it because of the amount of time and money I put into it.”
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., will take place June 11-18. The national trip is in its 51st year. In 1957, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson gave a speech to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and proclaimed, ““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 goals of the program are twofold: to teach students more about how electric cooperatives work and to develop the leaders of tomorrow by exposing them to people and places outside of their own communities. Today roughly 1,700 high school students attend each year, traveling to Washington from 45 participating states. More than 50,000 students have participated in Youth Tour since its inception.
Wheatland’s 2014 winner was Bailey Harris of Greely County High School in Tribune, KS. She called it “one of the best experiences of my life thus far!” and said her highlights were seeing the discipline and precision of the Marine Corps Band and Silent Drill Team at Iwo Jima and visiting with her State Senators and Congressmen. “I learned a lot from our conversations with them and I really enjoyed getting to ask questions and speak with them on such a personal level.”
The 2015 Youth Tour to the Nation’s Capital will include:
•US Holocaust Memorial Museum
•George Washington’s Mount Vernon
•National memorials and monuments
•The National Archives
•Meetings with Congressional staff members
Closer to home, the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, CO has been educating students for more than 40 years. Students from Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming attend. The goal is to give students a broader view of the world and educate them about electric cooperatives.
On the agenda for this year’s Youth Leadership Camp:
•Visits to Lookout Mountain, Fish Creek Falls and Steamboat Springs
•Forming a cooperative with fellow students
•”Build a transmission line” competition
•White water rafting
•Live raptor demonstration
•Tours of Trapper Coal Mine and Craig Generation Plant