Thirty-eight high school students representing Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives traveled to Washington, D.C., from June 14-20 and joined more than 1,900 other students from across the nation for the 2019 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Access Energy Cooperative was among the first ones to send students to Washington, D.C., back in 1958; this year marks the 61st anniversary of the journey.
“The Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students, and we’re proud to send 38 of Iowa’s best and brightest to our nation’s capital this year to participate,” said Chuck Soderberg, Executive Vice President of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC). “These students gained a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and made connections with other student leaders from across the country that will last a lifetime. We look forward to continuing the Youth Tour tradition for years to come.”
Elizabeth Smith of Danville and Shelby Ryan of West Burlington, were selected to represent Access Energy Cooperative for the 2019 Youth Tour.
Elizabeth is a junior at Danville Community High School and is the daughter of Penne Smith. She participates in soccer, volleyball, basketball, large group and individual speech, school musicals and plays, Leo Club, Student Council, choir, show choir, National Honors Society, and the praise band for her church. She is also employed at Burlington Neurology and Sleep Clinic as a Medical Records Assistant.
A sophomore at West Burlington High School, Shelby is the daughter of Shaun and Amy Ryan. She is active in band, choir, speech, track, silver cord, and multiple school clubs. She is also involved in community and volunteer activities, as well as being a pianist at her church.
Students on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour participated in leadership training, engaged in one-on-one conversations with elected officials, jumpstarted their national peer network, learned about electric cooperatives, and toured the monuments and museums of Washington, D.C.
During Youth Tour the IAEC was able to arrange for Iowa students to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns during their visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Ellie Smith was among the four students chosen to represent Iowa in this ceremony.