Joining about 1,800 students from across the country, 37 Iowa students made the annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., last month, celebrating the 60thanniversary of the educational trip that originated in the Hawkeye State. Participants met their U.S. representatives and senators, started and ran their own cooperative, met student leaders from nearly every state and watched history come alive as they explored museums, memorials, monuments and other sites. Best of all, the students made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Here's what they said about the trip
“I got to be immersed in history through monuments and memorials, which taught me more than any history textbook ever could.” (Katelyn Langel, North West REC)
“It was a great experience. I’ve already explained the application process to a younger member of my co-op!” (Luke Tuecke, Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative)
“It was literally the experience of a lifetime.” (Kaitlyn Faber, Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.)
“We did all this while gaining a greater appreciation for our electric cooperative and all that they do for our rural communities.” (Joe Anderson, Lyon REC)
“This experience has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.” (Halie Heitritter, Lyon REC)
“Youth Tour has given me a deeper understanding of our country ... ” (Madalyn Weber, Farmers Electric Cooperative (Greenfield)
“You never know who you will meet or even the opportunities that may come as a result of participating in Youth Tour.” (Hollie Nelson, Access Energy Cooperative)
“I highly recommend this opportunity to every single person out there, as you come back with a new attitude and a ton of new friends!” (Mackenna Pannhoff, Heartland Power Cooperative)
He’s the YLC delegate!
Jacob Risse from Butler County REC was selected to serve as Iowa’s Youth Leadership Council delegate during the Youth Tour. He will travel back to Washington, D.C., this month for leadership training and to enhance his knowledge of the energy industry and the cooperative business model.
He also will speak at the annual meeting of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives in December and attend the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Orlando next year.
Jacob will be a senior at Wapsi Valley High School in the fall, where he’s been involved in band as the saxophone section leader and the National Honor Society. He’s also the FFA chapter president for 2018-2019.
After successfully launching a snack cooperative for Iowa’s hungry students last year, the organizers of the 2018 trip decided to kick the concept up a notch. This year’s D.C. Munchie Cooperative became a fully functioning co-op with 43 members who each paid $1 to join, five elected board members, a CEO/general manager and other employees.
The co-op raised additional capital for purchasing snacks by borrowing $131 from a special trust fund and by selling punch cards students could use for purchases at the co-op’s store. The co-op also held regular meetings and sent out daily safety messages to members – plus ads to encourage them to patronize the co-op’s store, which based its inventory on responses to a member survey.
By the end of the week, the D.C. Munchie Cooperative had generated a margin, so the board of directors declared a distribution to members, paid back the loan (plus interest) and held back a small amount to restart the co-op next year.
Thanks to this year's participating co-ops and other supporters!