Youth Tour

Youth Tour 2024 will take place June 16-21, 2024. Applications are open now!

Central Electric Cooperative (CEC) values education and training as one of the seven cooperative principles, particularly when it concerns our community’s youth. The National Rural Electric Youth Tour program, sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and CEC, offers current high school juniors the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for an all-expenses-paid week of fun, learning and sightseeing during the summer before their senior year.

Selected delegates get the chance to meet their state’s congressperson, see the U.S. Capitol, and tour national monuments and memorials with more than 1,800 of their peers from across the country. Students participating in the trip typically visit Capitol Hill, the National Zoo, Arlington Cemetery, the Holocaust Museum and the Pentagon Memorial, among other sites.

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. for a week in June every year since the late 1950s. The Monday of Youth Tour week begins with National Youth Day, when students from rural America gather to learn about the rich history of electric cooperatives and the important role of being an active participant in our democracy. The Youth Day program features speakers who motivate and honor the spirit of electric cooperatives’ commitment to community and the important role of being politically aware and politically active.

Youth Day is also where the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members are introduced. The YLC is composed of one student per state who is selected to come back to Washington, D.C., in July for a week of leadership training and fun. The selected student then also plays an active role in the NRECA Annual Meeting the following spring.

Keep in mind that the program involves a great deal of walking. Dress is generally casual, but professional dress is expected for a day on Capitol Hill. CEC is a sponsor of this trip and pays all fees for the students who participate (approx. a $2,500 value per person).

If you want to be part of this fun (free!) week in Washington, please apply below.

Youth Tour Photo

  1. Be a current high school junior.
  2. Reside in a home receiving electric service from Central Electric Cooperative. 
  3. Complete the Youth Tour application.
    • ​​​​​​​Attach an appropriate portrait (school or sport) style photo of yourself. 
    • Submit your 500-word essay with your application.
      • Essay Topic: What makes you a good candidate to represent CEC on the 2023 Youth Tour and what do you expect to gain from your Washington, D.C. experience?
  4. Applications and all application requirements must be received by CEC by Feb. 2, 2024.

Click here to apply.

  1. You are required to attend the Youth Tour Selection Day at CEC on February 16. This is the day the finalists are selected. CEC can limit who will attend Selection Day in the event of an unmanageable amount of applicants. 
  2. At Selection Day you will take a brief exam testing your knowledge of the cooperative and you will be interviewed by CEC staff. Click here for general information about Youth Tour that may be included on the exam. 
  3. The finalists will be notified by February 23. The selected students will not only be entitled to the trip to Washington, D.C., but will also be eligible for special scholarship opportunities in the future. One finalist will be chosen as CEC’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC) candidate. The YLC candidate will compete with other candidates for a chance to be the Pennsylvania YLC representative and to attend the NRECA annual meeting taking place the Spring following your Youth Tour trip. 

Finalists must attend the following events in order to participate in Youth Tour: 

1.  Attend Youth Tour Orientation night on May 20 with your parent or guardian. 

2.  Attend two CEC’s board of directors meetings; May 20 and July 15 at CEC's headquarters.

3.  Attend CEC’s annual meeting in August. 


Students who previously participated in Youth Tour are eligible to apply for two scholarships provided by the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association (PREA). Click on the links below for more information and to apply. 

Jody Loudenslager Memorial Scholarship 

PREA Scholarship Trust Fund in Memory of William F. Matson