Youth Tour is an unforgettable, all-expenses paid, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Washington, D.C. Each year, more than 1,800 high school students from all across America experience our nation's capital, tour monuments, museums, and memorials, and meet elected officials as part of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.
Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative, along with hundreds of other rural electric cooperatives across the country, sponsor students from their local communities to take part in this trip. If you're a high school junior who lives in a home powered by Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative, you could qualify to attend this free trip!
On Youth Tour, you will make friendships that last a lifetime and become part of a group that has more than 50,000 alumni in every walk of life, including U.S. senators and CEOs. Apple's CEO Tim Cook visited Washington, D.C. for the first time during his junior year of high school as part of the NRECA National Youth Tour.
Youth Tour is open to any high school junior who resides in a home receiving electric service from Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative. Staff from Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative will chaperone New Jersey students who attend this trip. This year's Youth Tour trip will take place from Sunday, June 16th to Friday, June 21st. Applications for 2024's trip ahs now closed, but information on 2025's trip will be available in December.
On Youth Tour:
You will have the chance to explore Washington, D.C.'s many museums, monuments, and memorials. You'll experience sights honoring important figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and explore memorials dedicated to American conflicts in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as Arlington National Cemetery.
From solemn experiences such as the Pentagon Memorial and the Holocaust Museum, to educational opportunities like the Smithsonian Museums and the Air & Space Museum, to fun events such as a dinner cruise on the Potomac and live theater at the Kennedy Center, Youth Tour students sign up for a week full on nonstop activities that they'll never forget!
On Youth Tour:
You will get to immerse yourself in our nation's history and discover your place in our democracy. You'll get to learn about the life experiences of your peers from other states while representing New Jersey on the national stage.
Youth Tour students have the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill for a guided tour of the Capitol Building and a meeting with their elected representative where you can ask questions, discuss issues affecting your community, and learn about the work done on Capitol Hill to represent you.
You will learn more about your co-op, your nation, and the impact you have on your community and your country! As part of our next generation of leaders, your experiences on Youth Tour can help you grow into the person that you want to be.
On Youth Tour:
You will experience the excitement of Youth Tour alongside 1,800 other students from all over the country!
On Youth Tour, you can make new friendships with peers from across the nation. Lifelong friendships have sprung from the shared experience students have had while on Youth Tour.
As a Youth Tour student, you'll join a network of thousands of Youth Tour alumni whose ranks include figures like senators and CEOs. Your experience on Youth Tour opens you up to incredible networking connections, valuable experiences, and exclusive scholarships, as well as an amazing, weeklong trip that you'll never forget!
Applications for 2024's Youth Tour trip are now closed
To be eligible to participate in Youth Tour, a student must:
- Be a current high school junior
- Reside in a home powered by Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative
- Be available to travel to Washington, D.C. during the trip's date range (2024's trip takes place from June 16th to 21st).
Applicants will be asked to complete an application form along with a short essay (the essay prompt can be found below). Applications must be signed by a parent or guardian.
Completed forms can be sent to us by mail to 64 County Route 639, Sussex, NJ 07461, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. At this point in time, we are no longer accepting applications for 2024's trup.
Essay Prompt (please include your one page essay alongside your Youth Tour application):
Many students are told from a young age that the only way to lead a successful life is to go to college. It turns out that "going to college" has become more of a rite of passage than a means of finding a career. I have asked young people and high schoolers and it seems that it is now looked down upon if someone is not going to college. It is important to remember that not every CEO went to college and no mortarboard or degree guarantees a big bank account. This is proven by successful, respected plumbers, electricians, lineworkers, IT professionals, healthcare techs, HVAC professionals, and a host of other trade jobs that are facing shortages.
According to a recent study, the general average salary for college graduates is about $50,000 per year. That degree also comes with an average student loan debt of $37,693. However, there are at least 30 million jobs in the US that pay more than $55,000 per year and don't require a bachelor's degree. A multitude of high-paying, skilled trade jobs are available and not only pay extremely well, but are also in high demand. For example, electric lineworkers are in need across the nation as more than 50% of current lineworkers are approaching or are at the age of retirement.
How does one change the narrative that trade school is not as legitimate as a traditional four year college? Not only does the negative perception of trade school hurt the future of students, it ultimately hurts the nation's economy.
Please write a one (1) page essay on the following topic:
As a student, how do you think schools and students can change the narrative around trade schools and trade careers? How can schools and students show that there is a choice that can be made between college and trade school?
Comments from 2023 Youth Tour Students
|“My favorite part about Youth Tour was meeting lots of new people from all over the country, touring D.C. and seeing all of the memorials and monuments, and listening to Claudia’s fun facts of the day! This trip was a great opportunity for me to learn about the electric cooperatives and how they work. It also allowed me to learn the history of our nation through the museums and many places we visited throughout the week.”
|“Some highlights for me were visiting the Pentagon Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier because they had a special, surreal feeling. There was an energy given that made me think back to the sacrifices that were made. It meant a lot to me to represent my state and gave me a feeling of pride. I will never forget the friends I made and the experiences that I went through.”
|“My experience on Youth Tour was unforgettable and truly amazing. My favorite part was being able to meet people and make friends all across the country, because I had really only known people from New Jersey and a couple relatives from Pennsylvania. Getting to meet people from all over the country made me see how similar or different our lives were. I also enjoyed being able to see so many Washington D.C. monuments, memorials, and museums that brought attention to historic events and taught me more. I also enjoyed learning more about the positive effect of rural electric cooperatives across the country. This opportunity was so special because it made me a part of a group that I will always remember and will always be connected with.”
For more details on 2023's trip...
During Youth Tour, you have the chance to be selected to represent your state on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council (YLC). One student from each state is selected and they will come back to Washington, D.C. in July for a leadership workshop which will focus on the electric cooperative industry.
The purpose of the YLC conference is to build leadership and public speaking skills, and to enhance the delegates’ knowledge of the energy industry and the cooperative form of business. These students will also make presentations at their statewide and local cooperative annual meetings.
Members of the YLC play an important role during NRECA’s Annual Meeting the following spring. Not only are the YLC members recognized on stage, they have a hands-on experience with virtually every facet of the meeting including the resolutions process and helping our members communicate with their legislators.
Youth Leadership Council members leave more poised and confident, as a better developed leader with a strong determination to improve their community and make their country a better place. Further, they leave having built life-long friendships with other student leaders from across the country and with skills and experience that put them ahead in their academic and professional pursuits.
As a Youth Tour student, you don't just get to go on the trip of a lifetime - you'll also gain access to exclusive scholarship opportunities that can help you on your journey through college! You are eligible to receive these scholarships for any year college, and they can be awarded for multiple years of your college career! The two exclusive Youth Tour scholarships are:
- The Jody Loudenslager Memorial Scholarship - Provided through the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association (PREA), each year it offers a total of two scholarships of $1,000 to Youth Tour alumni from Pennsylvania and New Jersey
- The Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation Scholarship - Provided through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), each year it offers a total of four $1,000 scholarships and one $10,000 scholarship to Youth Tour alumni across the country
Applications for these scholarships typically open up in the beginning of the year, and have application deadlines in early May. To learn more about these scholarships and others offered by Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative, visit our Scholarships page.