Youth TourThe Rural Electric Youth Tour was born of extemporaneous comments made by Senator Lyndon Johnson as he addressed the NRECA Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. Beginning that year, and for several more, some of the Texas electric cooperatives sent groups of young people to Washington to work during the summer in Senator Johnson's office, to learn about government in action.
The next year, 1958, rural electric people in Iowa sponsored the first group of 34 young people on a week-long study tour of the nation's capital, as a direct outgrowth of the Senator's personal suggestion at the Chicago meeting. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois. Other states picked up the idea in increasing numbers each succeeding year, sending busloads of young people through the summer. In 1959, the number had grown to 130 youths as the importance of the idea began to be better recognized.
In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate the program suggesting that the groups arrange their schedules be in the city the same week. The first year of the coordinated tour there were about 400 young people from 12 states. Since that time the Youth Tour has continued to grow and the next 24 years almost 1,000 young people and chaperones participated in the Tour each year. On the 25th anniversary of the Youth Tour the number of participants exceeded 1,000. Because of the increased size in 1990, the Youth Tour split into back-to-back sessions of approximately 650 per session.
YOUTH TOUR OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSE
1. To educate youths on all aspects of rural electrification in order to promote a better understanding of the value of rural electric cooperatives.
2. To provide an opportunity for youth to visit monuments, government buildings and cooperative-related organizations in order to become familiar with the historical and political environment of their nation's capital.
3. To provide an opportunity for youth to meet elected officials in order to better understand how their federal government works.