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United Power was able to send students to Washington, D.C. this year as part of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour for the first time since 2019. Shared concerns among state electric cooperatives regarding health and safety surrounding the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 tours.  

The return of this year’s tour means cooperatives from across the country will sponsor approximately 1,300 high school students for a week in the nation’s capital. While they are in Washington, students will have an opportunity to meet and interact with elected officials representing the state of Colorado, tour historical landmarks and monuments, and learn the value of the cooperatives they represent.  

Each year, United Power selects ambitious high school students to represent it at the Youth Tour. This year, United Power sponsored two local students – Elizabeth Clement, Stargate Charter School, and Noah Kildow, Brighton High School. 

Before departing for Washington, Colorado students toured the state capitol in Denver and met with Gov. Jared Polis, participated in a high-voltage safety demonstration at United Power’s headquarters in Brighton, and heard brief presentations from employees about the various career paths available through the cooperative. 

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has been a tradition among cooperatives since the late 1950s. Its origins date back to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s 1957 annual meeting in Chicago, where keynote speaker and future president Lyndon B. Johnson suggested sending youth to the capital to see “what the flag stands for and represents.” A small group of 34 students from Iowa formed the first tour in 1958. To date, nearly 50,000 students have participated in the program. 

Applications to represent United Power during next year’s Youth Tour will be available in early December. Follow us on social media for updates on all of our youth programs.