Congratulations to Rebecca Lancaster and to Victoria Wahlen who submitted the winning essay's for the Nueces Electric Cooperative 2014 Youth Tour trip to Washington D.C.! In June, Victoria and Rebecca will travel with 120 other Texas High School electric co-op delegates to Washington D.C. where they will take VIP tours of the monuments and speak with legislators about NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) priorities.

Each year, Nueces Electric Cooperative sponsors two attendees to make this educational and inspirational journey. The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. every June since the late 1950s. Nearly 50,000 students from rural areas and small towns across America have participated in this program. Some of our Youth Tour alumni have gone on to design airplanes, to lead companies and to serve in the highest ranks of our government, including the U.S. Senate.

This past January, several NEC youth entered short essay’s for the chance to win this trip of a lifetime. The essay's were written from the perspective of someone 75 years ago, when electricity first illuminated rural South Texas.

Prior to 1938, only larger populated areas had electricity. For-profit electric companies did not take electricity out to South Texas farmers and ranchers. Building power lines was costly and little money was to be made.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized a need and signed the Rural Electrification Act. The Act allowed farmers and ranchers the opportunity to obtain loans from the government to build power lines to their homes and businesses. So began the electric cooperative movement. In 1938, Farmers and ranchers from Nueces, Kleberg and Jim Wells Counties gathered together, going door to door, talking to their neighbors about electricity and banding together to form a non-profit electric cooperative. They elected a board, received a loan, and poured hours of sweat into building power lines so they too could pull a string and have a light bulb illuminate a room at night. As we know today, the modern conveniences of electricity change lives.

The NRECA Youth Tour teaches delegates about the rich history of electric cooperatives and shows them how they can help make the future brighter for the co-op industry.

Rebecca and Victoria will travel to Dallas where they will meet up with all Texas Youth Tour attendees to begin their trip on June 12th and will return on June 20th.

Nueces Electric Cooperative is honored to be able to provide these programs to our communities. If you will be a Sophomore or Junior next year, lookout for your opportunity to enter your short essay. The essay entry period is from October through the end of January. Information, the essay topic and Youth Tour details can be found at www.nueceselectric.org.