Each year member-systems of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association (NREA) accept applications from area high school students to attend the NREA Youth Energy Leadership Camp at State 4-H Camp in the Halsey National Forest, usually the second week in July. The popular 5 day camp is set up to give young people a better understanding of the legislative process, electric power generation and the rural electric program. Our goal is to offer a program that challenges participants educationally, recreationally and socially.
The Youth Energy Leadership Camp is established as an operating rural electric system and provides a "hands-on" approach to member-owned businesses. The students will join high school students from Nebraska and Wyoming, along with adult counselors and junior counselors. The adult counselors are employees of rural electric systems who donate their time and talents to the camp. The junior counselors are selected by their peers to return to next year's camp.
The State 4-H Camp is located in the Halsey National Forest, near Halsey, Neb. Recreational activities include basketball, volleyball and canoeing. Camp expenses and transportation are provided by each sponsoring rural electric system. High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors whose families are customers of NREA member systems may apply. Eligible students must contact their rural electric system by May 15. A highlight of the camp involves a tour of the Kingsley Hydro Station at Lake McConaughy and Gerald Gentleman Station, a coal-fired power plant at Sutherland, Neb.
High school students who attend the energy camp have the opportunity to compete for a chance to participate as state ambassadors in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's Youth Tour in Washington D.C. in June of the following year. All ambassador expenses are paid by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association and through a scholarship provided by the Cooperative Finance Corporation. Three students are selected by their peers to serve as ambassadors.
The Ambassador competition involves submitting an application at Youth Energy Camp, presenting a self-introduction speech, and delivering a five-minute speech on an assigned topic. Each camper votes for three candidates following the speech with the top male, top female and person with the next highest vote total becoming next year's ambassadors. The top six finalists and ties are invited to return to next year's Youth Energy Camp as junior counselors.
Anyone who has attended camp may also have the opportunity to attend Youth Tour as a delegate of their local rural electric provider. Not all systems participate and application procedures will vary. Those who are interested should contact their local rural electric system for more information.
Youth Tour 2016 will be held June 10-16
Nebraska delegates and ambassadors will tour the Nation's Capitol including the National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums. Participants will have breakfast with the Nebraska congressional delegation and they will visit congressional offices. Trips outside the Beltway include a visit to Gettysburg and Mount Vernon.
The Washington Youth Tour is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Nebraska Rural Electric Association and participating members of the NREA. NREA Assistant Director of Government Relations and Grassroots Coordinator, James Dukesherer, serves as Youth Tour Director.
Student participants in the Nebraska Rural Electric Washington Youth Tour may apply to be Nebraska's representative to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Leadership Council (YLC). The YLC is composed of one representative from each of the 41 states that participate in the Youth Tour. YLC members have the opportunity for additional free travel and leadership training.
NRECA Youth Leadership Conference --Washington, DC Area
At this summer workshop, all 41 YLC representatives will have the opportunity to hone their public speaking skills, develop their leadership skills, and enhance their understanding of politics. Group recreational activities will also be provided. The 2016 Youth Leadership Conference will be held in Washington D.C. July 16-20, 2016
Nebraska Rural Electric Association Annual Meeting --Kearney
Nebraska's YLC representative will deliver a brief (5-7 minutes) speech about his or her experiences in Washington, DC, to the NREA Board of Directors and participants at the NREA annual meeting. The 2016 NREA Annual Meeting will be in Kearney, NE, December 1 & 2, 2016.
NRECA Annual Meeting
All 41 YLC representatives will assist the NRECA staff with the conduct of the NRECA annual meeting. YLC responsibilities at this meeting will include participating in the meeting's opening assembly, staffing information booths, learning about energy issues, and assisting with committee meetings. Group recreational activities will also be provided. The 2017 NRECA Annual Meeting will be held in San Diego, CA, February 25-March 1, 2017.