Local students on the 2018 Washington Youth Tour included (from left) Byron Dubose, Victoria Etheridge, Isabel Muehleman, Kelsey Darien and Bethany Neville. The South Carolina Youth Tour delegation poses (below) at the White House.

South Carolina’s Washington Youth Tour delegates, including five students from Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s service area, had a whirlwind week of touring, meeting and eating their way through the nation’s capital in June.

Rising seniors Kelsey Darien from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High, Victoria Etheridge from John Paul II Catholic School and Isabel Muehleman from Hilton Head Island High were sponsored on the Washington Youth Tour by Palmetto Electric. Two local students who are children of co-op employees, Bethany Neville from Hilton Head Island High and Bryon Dubose from Legacy Christian Academy, were chosen by the state association of electric co-ops. The association coordinates the Youth Tour and each year sponsors two students who are the children of employees of electric co-ops around the state.

The five were among 69 rising high school seniors representing the state’s 20 electric cooperatives on this year’s tour. More than 1,800 delegates from 42 states were in D.C. June 9-14.

Students met Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott on the Capitol steps, saw the vice president’s motorcade in action at the Capitol, took a private tram tour of Arlington Cemetery and danced on a Potomac River boat cruise.

Delegates formed their own Soda Pop Co-op to save on drinks and snacks. The co-op’s five-member board of trustees included Darien. Like an electric cooperative board, they hired a manager and assistant manager to run the Soda Pop Co-op.

It did well, too!

For the week, the co-op earned $449.28 and returned to each member $5.76 in capital credits. The members voted to keep $5 for themselves and donated the change to the group’s two bus drivers and a hotel worker who helped load ice in the coolers each morning.

To see more moments from this year’s Youth Tour, check out scyouthtour on Twitter and Instagram.

Meanwhile, the Youth Tour isn’t quite over for Etheridge: She is one of 15 students who is conducting service projects this summer in their local communities for a chance to win a $5,000 college scholarship. One student will win the prize which will be announced on August 20. Etheridge’s project involves renovating a room at the Pratt Memorial Library in Ridgeland to be a dedicated teen room.


5 Students part of S.C. event

Because of the Youth Tour’s success, Palmetto Electric and the 19 other cooperatives in South Carolina last year started a similar program on the state level, the Cooperative Youth Summit.

This year, Palmetto Electric Cooperative sponsored five students on the July 10-13 event: Abby Smith from Wade Hampton High School and Keandra Warren from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School as well as Isabel Muehleman, Bethany Neville and Byron Dubose, who also took part in the Washington Youth Tour. Youth Summit engages students in activities designed to teach them about electric cooperatives and the not-for-profit cooperative business model. They also learn more about how state government.

Palmetto Electric supports programs like the Youth Tour and Cooperative Youth Summit to show its commitment to community, one of the Cooperative Principles and a core value of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. Learn more about the cooperative difference at

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.