Two Steamboat Springs High School juniors will represent Yampa Valley Electric Association at a weeklong youth program this summer in Washington, D.C.
Martha Anderson and Owen McIntosh were chosen by YVEA to participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour from June 9 to 16. They will learn about the electric cooperative model and state and local governments while exploring the nation’s capital. YVEA will pay for airfare, lodging, meals and admissions fees.
In addition to networking with 1,500 students chosen by other electric cooperatives from across the country, Anderson and McIntosh will tour museums and monuments and meet U.S. senators and representatives from Colorado.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to go to D.C. — total bonus that it’s all expenses paid,” Anderson said. “Also, I feel it’s an interesting field. Energy, with the population growing the way it is, we’ll have to come up with alternative ways to harvest energy.”
YVEA spokesman Jim Chappell said the cooperative has sent students from its coverage area — Routt and Moffat counties, McCoy and the Little Snake River Valley in Baggs, Wyo. — to participate in the Youth Tour for about 10 years.
“The Board of Directors and management thought this was an excellent program to educate youth not only on the cooperative way of doing business, electric industry issues and concerns, but a great way for students to get to see and view our nation’s capital in its working condition and meeting with our federal legislators,” he said.
Chappell said President Lyndon B. Johnson inspired the first event when he spoke at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association annual meeting as a senator in 1957 and stressed the importance of educating youth about government and U.S. history.
He said Anderson and McIntosh were chosen from among 12 students who applied to participate. Applicants had to write a 250-word essay about what it would be like for their families if they couldn’t afford energy or electricity. Chappell said YVEA employees judged the essays.
McIntosh said he wrote about how impossible it would be to live in today’s world. It’s part of the reason he applied to take the trip.
“Energy is completely important to everything we do,” McIntosh said. “I just really wanted to learn what goes on behind (the scenes), when we flip on a light switch. I really wanted to see what all goes into that.”
Each year, YVEA chooses two students to participate in the Youth Tour. Last year, one was chosen from Steamboat.
“It’s really exciting we’ve got both winners this year,” said Danica Moss, Steamboat Springs High School career and college counselor. “Both of them are in the top of their class as juniors. They are highly worthy of representing Routt County. They’re wonderful students.”
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com