What makes electric cooperatives different from other utilities is that "giving something back to the community" is part of their business plan. Why do cooperatives like DSO send high school students to Washington D.C. and to Colorado? Because it is important to learn about the political process and interact with your government. Youth will walk away from this week as better leaders and a sense that they can make a difference.
The Origin & History of Youth Tour
Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. The Senator and future president declared, "If one thing goes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents."
Consequently, some Texas electric cooperatives sent groups of young people to Washington D.C. 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 the nation's capital. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington D.C. 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 youths.
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, over 1,500 young people and their chaperones participate in the Youth Tour every year.
The statewide Youth Tour directors arrange for their delegations to visit their U.S. Representatives, 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.
2023 Trip Application Deadline is February 3, 2023
Any high school junior in the DSO service area whose parents or guardians reside in the territory served by DSO Electric may apply for the annual Youth Tours. These all-expense-paid educational trips to Washington, D.C., or Steamboat Springs, Colorado are sponsored by DSO and the Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., of Topeka. Click Here for more information or an application.
As part of the selection process, participating youth must write a short essay and attend a personal interview conducted by a panel of judges. The essay is due on or before the application deadline.
Washington, D.C. Tour (2023 Brochure) - June 15-22, 2023
The "Government In Action" Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. takes place each June. During this week-long tour, students will visit historical sights, attend educational sessions, meet with Kansas elected officials and tour the White House.
Steamboat Springs, CO Tour (2023 Brochure) - July 14-20, 2023
The "Youth Leadership Camp " in Steamboat Springs, Colorado takes place in July. At this seminar, the participants will tour Craig Station, attend sessions featuring energy, safety, and career opportunities, and visit beautiful Steamboat Springs.