Washington Youth Tour & Cooperative Youth Summit

 

Washington Youth Tour

Three local high school juniors are selected annually to represent Palmetto Electric Cooperative as delegates to the Washington Youth Tour, a weeklong—all expenses paid—educational trip to our nation’s capital. Participants see government in action, visit historical sites, learn about co-ops and meet students from around the nation.

They also are eligible to compete for the R.D. Bennett College Scholarship awarded by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and compete for a position on the National Youth Leadership Council.

More than 1,500 students participate in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour each year. Delegates travel to Washington, D.C., where you will get a chance to meet with your local U.S. Representatives and Senators. This unique trip will give you the opportunity to watch history come alive as you explore the museums, memorials and monuments with students from your state. You will meet student leaders from nearly every state and hear dynamic leaders on Youth Day. Bottom line, you will make friendships that will last a lifetime and be part of a group that has more than 50,000 alumni in every walk of life including U.S. Senators and CEOs.

Cooperative Youth Summit

Three high school sophomores and/or juniors will have the chance to experience South Carolina’s capital like never before.  Students will tour the Statehouse, meet lawmakers and see how co-ops are preparing for our state’s energy future. 

Participants will have plenty of fun with visits to popular Columbia attractions like Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.  Palmetto Electric will cover all expenses including transportation, lodging and meals.


Due to COVID-19, students were not able to travel to Washington D.C. or Columbia, S.C. in-person this year, but they did have the opportunity to participate in a one-of-a-kind Virtual Youth Experience, June 19-26.       

From the comfort of their own homes, students were able to connect virtually with other students from across the state to learn about cooperatives and how they are handling the COVID-19 crisis and hear from state and national leaders about what is being done in the response to the crisis. 

During the Virtual Experience, students were also given the opportunity to earn a $5,000 college scholarship by creating a video or podcast detailing how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.  Mackenzie Starnes, Palmetto Electric’s Virtual Youth Experience representative from Hilton Head Island High School, was part of the winning team for the Virtual Youth Experience Podcast Competition!  Mackenzie, along with her teammates, will receive a $5,000 college scholarship!!!

Starnes was part of a three-person creative team which included Grace Johnson of Hartsville and Salena Robinson of West Columbia, each of whom received the scholarship award. Their winning podcast, which was announced on July 31, was chosen among 20 by a panel of journalists that included Craig Melvin of NBC’s TODAY show, Kenneth Moton from ABC’s World News Now and Cindi Scoppe and Avery Wilks from The Post and Courier newspaper.

Nothing can replace the experience of visiting Washington D.C. and Columbia in person, however we hope that by engaging with their government leaders and peers through the Virtual Experience, these students have a better understanding of the history-making pandemic and how we are responding to it. The future is bright, thanks to future leaders like these!      

HOW TO APPLY – One application, two great opportunities

Youth Tour and Youth Summit applicants’ primary residence must be served by Palmetto Electric. Students must submit a completed application, a photo and a letter of reference. SAT scores, class standing, or grade-point average are not considered.  Finalists participate in a personal interview.

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Applications are available online at the link below. High school juniors may apply for both the Washington Youth Tour and the Cooperative Youth Summit, if interested.

Students with any questions can contact Brooke Mingledorff at  youthtour@palmetto.coop or call (843) 208-5556 or 1-800-922-5551