From 26 applicants whittled to four delegates, Pioneer Electric is excited to announce the winners for our 2020 Youth Tour program. Ashley Kennedy, sophomore at Moscow High School; Audra Langley, junior at Rolla High School; Becca Rock, sophomore at Ulysses High School; and Daniela Rodriguez, junior at Stanton County High School, were selected in November to represent the cooperative. Now the four prepare for new adventures as they will attend all-expense-paid trips during the summer of 2020. Rock and Rodriguez will attend the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Kennedy and Langley will attend the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.
“Youth Tour and Camp are programs that are near and dear to the cooperative, and they represent the bright future these young students will help shape,” said Drew Waechter, program coordinator and communications coordinator for Pioneer. “Each trip focuses on a different aspect of the cooperative business model and challenges students to find what empowers them.”
Pioneer’s goal is to help the youth attending these trips experience the power of people coming together and expressing their desires to better the lives of their neighbors and communities. Community is the soul of the cooperative. It is what sets us apart as a utility and business.
Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., covers the power of democratic control and civic engagement. Students have opportunities to meet with legislators, tour historical monuments and view the history that has shaped our country.
The Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp focuses on giving students tools to better themselves as leaders and learn about the cooperative system. Students interact with various presenters and begin pinpointing their strengths as leaders. This camp challenges students through multiple leadership roles and gives them a chance to look at leadership in completely different ways. At camp, students visit with professionals in the electric cooperative industry, participate in team-building activities, manage their own “candy cooperative,” go rafting and participate in additional activities.
“We want students to start asking those questions of ‘What can I do?’ and ‘How can we change for the better?’ and ignite an interest in engaging with their communities,” said Waechter.
Digital applications opened last fall to area sophomores and juniors. These applications were then reviewed by a panel of judges from outside of the cooperative. Judges narrowed down the pool of applicants to 20 finalists and each was interviewed. Winning students were then surprised by cooperative employees following the interviews and congratulated for a job well done.
“This is always one of my favorite parts of the program,” said Waechter. “Some of these students have never interviewed with a panel so we want to be sure they get the credit they deserve. For us, it’s a point in which we can formally welcome them into our cooperative family and begin working together to start this new journey.”
Questions regarding either trip, the judging process and requests for details regarding 2021’s program may be directed to email@example.com.