In 1957, President Lyndon B. Johnson, then a U.S. Senator from Texas, inspired the creation of Youth Tour when he called on electric cooperatives to send young people to Washington to “see what the flag stands for and represents.”
More than 50 years later, the program is still going strong and shaping young minds. This year, electric cooperatives across the nation sent 1,800 delegates and chaperons to our nation’s capital. Two of those were from Central’s service area and sponsored by Central Electric Cooperative.
Central’s Youth Tour competition is open to all service area high school juniors. Students submitted essays and the top six students were invited to present their entries at a Youth Tour banquet. Judges selected the top two which were given the opportunity to go on the trip, the remaining four received scholarships.
Stillwater High School students Tanner Thomas and Paeton Watkins were selected to represent Central on Youth Tour. The two joined 69 other Oklahoma students for the trip to Washington D.C. The trip included tours of multiple Smithsonian museums; national monuments, like the Jefferson and Lincoln monuments; the Supreme Court; Arlington National Cemetery; and had the opportunity to tour the White House. The students also met with Oklahoma’s federal delegation and had a private tour of the U.S. Capitol by Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin.
“We’re very proud of Tanner and Paeton for representing Central in Washington, D.C.” said Hunter Robinson, CEO of Central Electric Cooperative. “Youth Tour provides students with the opportunity to experience things they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see.”
Central will begin the 2020 Youth Tour contest this fall with essays/videos due October 4, 2019. The topic is, “Briefly discuss the seven cooperative principles. Which do you think is most important and why?”
More information on the 2020 Youth Tour contest can be found on the Central website at: https://mycentral.coop/youth-programs