From left are Owen Westbrooks, Anna Thompson, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., Caleb Thurston and Caleb Kaufman. Photo provided.From left are Caleb Kaufman, Anna Thompson, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., Owen Westbrooks and Caleb Thurston. Photo provided.

Area students participate in Youth to Washington Tour

What do you get when 62 students from 26 Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives join 1,800 of their peers across the United States? 

You get the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, NRECA, Youth to Washington Tour.

Four students from  the Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative’s, SIEC, service territory were selected from a diverse group of applicants to represent their cooperative and experience an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., from June 14-21 as part of the annual Youth Tour. 

The 2019 Youth Tour delegates from SIEC included Caleb Kaufman from Buncombe, Caleb Thurston from Pulaski, and Anna Thompson and Owen Westbrooks from Metropolis. 

The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representatives Mike Bost and John Shimkus. 

The students also visited historical and cultural sites, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, President Lincoln’s Cottage at First National Cemetery, a variety of memorials and the U.S. Capitol. 

The Southern Illinois students also attended an assembly of more than 1,800 Youth Tour participants from across the nation and a special farewell event at the Newseum, which is scheduled to close later this year. 

“Youth Tour is a great opportunity that changes these students’ lives,” SIEC general manager David Johnston said. 

“This experience helps prepare them for their futures. After touring our nation’s capital, meeting congressional representatives and learning firsthand how our government works, they return home with valuable knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school students to visit Washington, D.C., talk one-on-one with their U.S. Congressional delegations and learn from energy and grassroots government education sessions. 

NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million consumer-members in 47 states. 

Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to members large and small. 

More than 730 Touchstone Energy cooperatives in 46 states are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 32 million members every day. 

Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative serves more than 11,200 meters over 2,102 miles of line in parts of Alexander, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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