Sunday, June 26, 2016

Youth Activities

Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp

Clark, Colorado (near Steamboat Springs)
July 14-19, 2013

Electric Cooperative Youth Tour

Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
June 13-20, 2013

Impressions from a Colorado Student : Owen McIntosh

Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp


For nearly three decades the electric cooperatives of Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming have conducted an outstanding educational seminar known as the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp. Every July, nearly 100 high school students travel to Clark, Colorado (north of Steamboat Springs) after being selected by their local cooperatives as participants.

The primary objective of the camp is to provide an educational experience for young people on the organization and operation of a cooperative. The seminar strives to help develop leadership skills that will assist students with the challenges they will face in the future.
The best way to learn about cooperatives is to form one, and that is what the participants do. When students arrive the first day, they form a cooperative and elect a board of directors. Each member of the cooperative is expected to take part in the workings of the co-op by seeking election to the board or by serving on one of the camp activity committees.

A number of special presentations are highlighted at the camp including electricity safety, leadership skills, avian protection, and a simulation to help students understanding the legislative process.  The group will visit the Craig Station Power Plant and the Trapper Coal Mine which supplies Craig.  

Of course, there is plenty of time for recreation. Glen Eden Resort has a volleyball court, swimming pool, hot tubs, and tennis courts. There will be a dance, pizza parties, banquet, a trip to the top of Mt. Warner, time to explore Steamboat Springs, and a raft trip down the Colorado River.

Each local cooperative has its own qualifications for participation in the Leadership Camp. Most students are entering their senior year in the fall. If you are interested in attending the camp, see your high school counselor or give your local electric cooperative a call.

Youth Leadership Council (YLC)


The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is a joint effort of local electric cooperatives, statewide (like CREA) and NRECA to provide an extension of youth activities available to states participating in the Youth Tour program. Each state is entitled to have one representative on the YLC. There representatives are selected by each state from that year’s Youth Tour participants. The new YLC members are announced each year during the Youth Day in Washington.

The Youth Leadership Council, which was created in 1976, is designed to provide participants with stronger leadership skills and a broader understanding of the rural electric cooperatives. All YLC members attend the NRECA Youth Leadership Conference and the NRECA Annual Meeting.
The Youth Leadership Conference is held each summer following the Youth Tour, which provides hands-on activities designed for promoting individual leadership development. During the Youth Leadership Conference participants select a spokesperson to address the membership of the NRECA Annual Meeting and the Youth Tour delegates the following summer.

The NRECA Annual Meeting hosts about 10,000 rural electric members yearly and is held in a variety of major cities nationwide. The YLC provides assistance to the NRECA staff during the Annual Meeting, attends educational seminars and participates in various programs. They have an opportunity to meet with many influential people, elected officials, NERCA’s board of directors, the CEO and administrative staff.

How to Participate

Colorado currently has 18 cooperatives that sponsor students for the Youth Tour. If a student is selected to participate, the cooperative pays for the students’ round-trip airfare from Denver to Washington, D.C., lodging in Denver and Washington, D.C., admission tickets to sites, events, and meals. Students are responsible for any spending money they wish to bring to purchase souvenirs, postcards, snacks, etc. Students are also responsible for making travel arrangements to Denver – some cooperatives coordinate this for their students.

Contact your local cooperative to find out if they are a participant in the Youth Tour. Students apply each fall and are selected in December preceding that year’s Youth Tour. For instance, if you are interested in the 2011 Youth Tour, the application process is during Fall 2010. Each cooperative has its application process, but generally, interested students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 16 years of age at the time of the Youth Tour
  • Live in a household that receives electricity from an electric cooperative

Students must fill out an application, complete an essay (topic maybe specified by local electric cooperative), and sign a Code of Conduct contract.

For more information contact your local cooperative or call CREA at 303-455-2700 or e-mail

For more information about the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, click here.

Electric Cooperative Youth Tour


Every June over 1,500 high school students from towns and small cities in rural America spend a week in the nation’s capital as part of the National Rural Electric Youth Tour. The students are sponsored by electric cooperatives – cooperatives who are committed to educating America’s rural youth about America and the role electric cooperatives play in developing strong rural communities.

Colorado’s electric cooperatives send about two dozen students to Washington, D.C. Students who participate on the tour learn about electric cooperatives, American history and U.S. government. The Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA), in conjunction with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), organize the educational programs.

Colorado Youth Tour participants begin the tour in Denver where they learn about Colorado’s state government and Colorado’s cooperatives. From Denver, they fly to Washington where they attend educational seminars and visit with their representatives in the House and the Senate. Students also visit historic sites in Washington, D.C. – the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Vernon, Arlington Cemetery, and the Smithsonian, just to name a few. 

Participating in the Youth Tour is a great way to learn about this great nation, develop leadership skills, gain a better understanding of electric cooperatives, and make friendships with people from across the state and country.


Senator Lyndon Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the NRECA Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. The Senator 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, beginning in 1957, 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 more about government in action. In 1958, rural electric cooperatives 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 from Illinois. The idea grew and other state sent busloads of young people throughout the summer. By 1959, the Youth Tour had grown to 159 youths.

In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate the program 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. The idea has continued to grow and today over 1,500 young people and chaperones participate in the Youth Tour every year.
Copyright 2011 by Colorado Rural Electric Association