Youth Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses-paid leadership travel opportunity for high school sophomores and juniors in MVEC’s service area.
One student, whose parent or guardian is an MVEC member, will be selected to represent our cooperative in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, held each year in June. In 2020 and 2021, the Youth Tour was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 1,800 students from all across America take part in the Youth Tour experience each year. This unique trip gives young people the opportunity to watch history come alive, explore museums, memorials, and monuments, make friendships that will last a lifetime, and be part of a group that has more than 50,000 alumni in every walk of life, including U.S. Senators and CEOs.
MVEC’s winners travel with approximately 40 Minnesota teens sponsored by other rural electric co-ops and join 1,800 national delegates in D.C. One MVEC alternate is be selected and either receive a $200 cash prize or attends the Youth Tour if the winner is unexpectedly unable.
- Nicholas Peterson of Chanhassen was selected as MVEC’s 2020 representative. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, NRECA had to cancel the 2020 event. Peterson received a scholarship instead. Elijah Mechtel of Shakopee was the runner-up.
- Natalie Thoms of Savage was MVEC’s 2019 representative with Abby Kunkel of Norwood as the runner-up. Read about Natalie’s experience in D.C.
- Sam Meeker of Green Isle was MVEC’s 2018 representative with Anna Holden of New Prague as the runner-up. Read about Sam’s experience in D.C.
- Fly from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
- Stay at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.
- Tour historical sites, including Arlington, National Cemetery, Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington National Cathedral, Library of Congress, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Archives, Iwo Jima Memorial, Old Town Alexandria, the White House (outside only) and more. Sample itinerary
- Meet Minnesota political representatives and learn more about our local and national government.
- Hear featured speakers who provide insight to the important roles electric cooperatives play in their communities.
- Create lifelong friendships with students from all around the country.
Just fill out this online form, answer a few questions and be prepared to write a 300- to 500-word essay on why you’d be a good candidate. Just so you know, before you hit “submit,” we’ll need an electronic signature from a parent or guardian.
Consequently, some Texas electric cooperatives sent groups of young people to Washington to work during the summer in Senator Johnson’s office. In 1958, a rural electric cooperative in Iowa sponsored the first group of 34 young people on a week-long study tour of our nation’s capital. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois.
The idea grew and other states sent busloads of young people throughout the summer. By 1959, the “Youth Tour” had grown to 130 students. In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the state delegations and suggested that co-op representatives from each state arrange to be in Washington, D.C., during Youth Tour week.
The first year of the coordinated Tour included approximately 400 young people from 12 states. Word of the program has continued to spread and today, more than 1,800 students and over 250 chaperones participate in the Youth Tour every year. Youth Tour directors from each state association arrange their delegation’s visits to their U.S. representatives and senators’ offices, federal agencies, and other educational and sightseeing activities. In addition to the planned statewide activities, the Youth Tour experience encompasses multi-state activities coordinated by NRECA.
Who comes on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour? Nearly 1,800 students from 44 states participate in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program. For more than 50 years, the Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C., to learn how their government works and the importance of civic engagement.
What does it cost? Youth Tour participants are sponsored by their local electric cooperative. Yes, the trip is free for the students! However, they may want to bring some spending money for souvenirs.
Will my son/daughter be safe? The safety and well-being of the students who take part in Youth Tour is our number one priority. Your son or daughter will be accounted for at all times and will be supervised by several adult chaperones in his/her group. In addition to the chaperones traveling with each state group, NRECA staff is on-site, at the hotel, for the entire week of Youth Tour. Curfew is 11 p.m. each evening and is strictly enforced. Chaperones traveling with your son/daughter’s state will ensure that all students are in their assigned rooms. Further, professional security guards are on duty, on every hotel floor from 10:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. to ensure maximum safety. For more information, see Rules and Guidelines.
Are medical professionals on-site? Yes. NRECA contracts with two full-time nurses who have more than 60 years of emergency room and trauma experience. The nurses are on-site and are available 24 hours a day throughout the week.