Essay Guidelines/FAQ

Essay Guidelines/FAQ

What is Youth Tour?

Every June, over 1,500 high school students from across the country travel to our nation’s capital as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Tour. The students are sponsored by their electric cooperatives for the experience to interact with other students from across rural America. During the week, they learn about the role electric cooperatives play in developing strong rural communities. They visit national monuments, enjoy a sunset dinner/cruise on the Potomac River, tour the Capitol and have a meet and greet with their local U.S. Congressional Representative. 


What is VICE Conference?

Each spring, the Virginia Cooperative Council sponsors an Institute on Cooperative Education, a youth leadership conference for up to 64 Virginia high school students. Local students from A&N Electric Cooperative’s service area are eligible to attend. The objective of the conference is to educate youth about the unique cooperative form of business. The conference is hosted by the Virginia Cooperative Council and is held at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Va. Students who preform well at the VICE Conference are eligible to win a number of scholarships at the conference and could be selected to represent the state at the NICE Conference later in the year.


How do I apply?

 It is very easy to apply.  A student from each high school will be selected through an essay contest. Essay entries must be typed and be a minimum of 150 words in length.  Choose from one of the following topics:

“Why Is Electricity Important to the Eastern Shore”

“Why I Like the Eastern Shore of Virginia”

Enclose a separate sheet of paper with your name, parent (s) name, address, and telephone number. Return your essay to the guidance office at your school by Dec. 10, 2018.  All winners will be notified by January 14, 2019. A second student from each high school will be selected to participate in the Virginia Cooperative Council's VICE Conference held at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Va.

If you have any questions, please call Patsy Goard, Youth Tour Coordinator at 787-9750, extension 322 or email

More information on the NRECA Youth Tour.


Why Youth Tour?

Possibly the best reason to apply to be a part of Youth Tour is that it is FREE!  It is 100 percent paid for by A&N Electric Cooperative, your cooperative. The only money you will need is for souvenirs.  We provide the snacks, the fun, and you even receive free T-shirts for certain days of the tour. Besides the educational experience, our mission is to expose you to sights and sounds of our nation’s history and appreciate our democratic form of government. You also build leadership skills and create lasting relationships with other students like yourselves.


History of Youth Tour 

In the late 1950’s, Senator Lyndon Johnson inspired the Youth Tour movement when he addressed the NRECA Annual Meeting in Chicago.   Consequently, Texas electric cooperatives sent groups of young people to Washington. It has grown to a program that has seen nearly 50,000 students participate including alumni that are now members of the Senate and Congress as well as CEOs of major companies.


History of Electric Cooperatives                 

In the mid-1930s, nine out of 10 rural homes did not have electricity.  Rural America was dependent on agriculture for economic growth as factories and businesses preferred to locate in cities where electricity was easily acquired.  For many years, the power companies ignored the rural areas of our nation. This began to change with the passage of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act in May, 1933. This act authorized construction of transmission lines to serve farms and small villages with electricity at reasonable rates. President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933 and promised to provide federal assistance to accomplish rural electrification. On May 11, 1935, Roosevelt signed an executive order establishing the REA. By 1953, more than 90 percent of America’s farms had electricity.


What is a Cooperative?

A cooperative is a private, non-profit corporation owned by its consumer-members. Each consumer is a member with one vote in the affairs of the cooperative. Governed by an elected board of directors, an annual meeting is held to conduct the business of the cooperative. Rates are established through the board and approved through The State Corporation Commission, a Virginia regulatory agency. Any revenues that exceed expenses are “margins” which are returned back to the member owners in the form of capital credits. This return maintains the non-profit status of the cooperative.