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A Tour de Force

2023 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is back in Washington, D.C.

August 2023

By Laura Emery, Staff Writer

Photo by Jay Diem


Thirty-six high school students from Virginia, Maryland and Delaware — along with 16 chaperones and many pounds of luggage — spilled out of the chartered bus at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Arlington, Va., on June 19. 

These students and nearly 1,800 other students from across the nation came for a weeklong adventure filled with learning, connecting and making memories. During the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour students learn about the important role of America’s electric cooperatives, visit historic sites in the nation’s capital, and get to see the federal government in action. The event is coordinated nationally by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and locally by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. 

This year marked the much-anticipated return of the Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Students from 44 states were represented this year. But not all the students converged on Washington, D.C., at the same time. State groups arrived at different times over two weeks. 

The Virginia, Maryland and Delaware students enjoyed a twilight riverboat cruise, and visited Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall and Capitol Hill. They also watched the Washington Nationals take on the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park and attended the opening night of “The Lion King” at the historic Kennedy Center. 

While on Capitol Hill, the group met with members of Congress to discuss current issues in their states. Students got the opportunity to meet with representatives from the offices of Rep. Jennifer Kiggans, Rep. Bob Good, Rep. Ben Cline, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Del. James Edmonds, Sen. Chris Koons and Rep. Abigail Spanberger. 

During the NRECA-sponsored Youth Day, students listened to a motivational speaker, Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world champion in Wheelchair Basketball. 

At the end of the trip, the tri-state delegation was given a tour of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s facilities in Hughesville, Md., where they got to learn what is involved in the job of a lineworker through a live-line demo and other exhibitions.