High school juniors invited to apply for youth tour to Washington, D.C.


By Indiana Reed
Special to The SUN

La Plata Electric Association (LPEA), in partnership with The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), is seeking high school juniors to be a part of the National Rural Electric Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., set for June 9-16, 2016. Application deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 6. All high school juniors whose households receive electricity from LPEA are eligible to apply.

“The Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., is unique to rural electric cooperatives across the country,” said Mike Dreyspring, LPEA CEO. “Annually, LPEA and our sister co-ops select and sponsor high school juniors for this all-expenses paid experience to our nation’s capitol. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we encourage our local high school students to apply.”

The Washington, D.C., youth tour features an intimate look at the federal government and the nation’s capitol, including museum and monument tours, as well as interaction with Colorado’s elected representatives. Social activities are also part of the adventure.

Area high school students Chloe Ciotti and Becca Schaldach of Durango, Chandler Jackson of Bayfield and Regan Richardson of Pagosa Springs represented LPEA as part of youth tour in 2015.

“The D.C. youth tour was an amazing experience,” said Regan Richardson, now a senior at Pagosa Springs High School. “We got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet so many unique and interesting people that we now call friends. We learned about electricity and the cooperatives that provide it. Spending a week in the middle of American history was an amazing and enriching experience that I will never forget.”

As Chandler Jackson, now a senior at Bayfield High School, noted, “The trip to Washington, D.C., was an excellent opportunity to expand my knowledge of both American history and the inner workings of the electric industry. My personal highlight was being given the opportunity to see the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress is truly remarkable for what it represents: the desire to gather all knowledge and preserve it for future generations while still applying it to the problems of today. The trip was a great opportunity that has broadened my horizons and altered my perspectives of this great nation.”

LPEA seeks to sponsor one student from each municipality within its service territory — Durango, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and Ignacio. Home-school students are also eligible.

“To be considered, students must complete the D.C. youth tour application and submit it to LPEA, along with an essay of 500 words or less about any aspect of the electric energy industry,” said Jeannie Bennett, LPEA public relations coordinator overseeing the youth tour application process.

Applications are available on the LPEA website, www.lpea.coop, from high school counselors and at the LPEA office in Pagosa Springs. For further information regarding the National Rural Electric Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., contact Jeannie Bennett at 382-3505 or jbennett@lpea.coop.