You could win a trip to your nation's capital
Each year, starting in February, South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative begins taking applications for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington. We spread the word through Arkansas Living magazine and in the schools. And best of all, Youth Tour alumni tell their friends about this amazing opportunity.
Arkansas' electric cooperatives began sponsoring the tour in 1990. Since then, hundreds of young Arkansans have gone on this trip and been inspired by the sites they see. They learn about the sacrifices others have made and what it truly means to be an American. They get to walk the grounds where George Washington walked. They view the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. They walk the halls of the Capitol where the nation's laws are crafted. They make new friends and dream new dreams.
Many students believe it will be too hard to win this trip, or that it will take too much effort to write an essay or sit for an interview. Some are encouraged to apply by their teachers while others learn about it from their parents or grandparents who see the promotion in the Arkansas Living magazine. Many say they almost didn't try. But ask any past Youth Tour winner and they will inevitably say they are glad they did. It truly is a trip of a lifetime.
During the tour, the group visits historic sites such as Mount Vernon, the World War II Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, the various museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the Newseum, which chronicles the history of the press, and Arlington National Cemetery, among other sites.
While on the tour, the Arkansas group also meets students from 44 other states who are also on the tour. Electric cooperatives from these states sponsor students just as we do. In addition, one student will be selected from each state to serve on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) sponsored by the National Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which represents electric cooperatives across the nation and coordinates the Youth Tour.
By sponsoring the Youth Tour, South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative is providing opportunities to help our youth grow and learn. By doing this, we are working to fulfill one of the "Seven Cooperative Principles" that guide our member-owned business -- commitment to community. Just as we have helped build the state by providing affordable and reliable energy for more than seven decades, we are working to help build leaders for tomorrow. And we believe that is a very good commitment and investment to make.
To be eligible to attend, South Central Electric Cooperative offers an essay contest for high school juniors, whose parents or guardians are cooperative members. Essays must be 250-500 words and based on "rural electrification". Deadline to submit essays is April 1st each year. They should be mailed or dropped off at the headquarters office located at 4818 Highway 8 W in Arkadelphia.