Students winning the Washington, D.C. trip were Molly Forsythe and Trinity Higgins of California High School, Paige Murry of Stover High School and Rachel Schmidt of Tipton High School. The following students will attend CYCLE next summer: Austin Bolin of California High School, Millie Dorman of Boonville, Garred Oldham of Tipton High School and Melissa Kerksiek and Alyssa Parrish of Stover High School.

Four high school students won the trip of a lifetime on the Rural Electric Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. Five other students won a trip to the Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience (CYCLE), in Jefferson City. The nine students competed at Co-Mo Electric’s Youth Tour finals on Thursday, Nov. 30. 

Students winning the Washington, D.C. trip were Molly Forsythe and Trinity Higgins of California High School, Paige Murry of Stover High School and Rachel Schmidt of Tipton High School. The following students will attend CYCLE next summer: Austin Bolin of California High School, Millie Dorman of Boonville, Garred Oldham of Tipton High School and Melissa Kerksiek and Alyssa Parrish of Stover High School.  

The four Youth Tour delegates will join up with more than 100 others selected by electric cooperatives across Missouri and descend on the nation’s capital in June to participate in the Youth Tour along with more than 1,600 students from 47 states. 

The four were selected based on projects that answered the prompt: “Imagine life before electricity and how will it change your life.” Co-Mo visited with eight local schools about the Youth Tour program this fall. This year, projects included videos, essays, board games, childrens books and presentations. 

“This is a great program,” said Co-Mo CEO/General Manager Ken Johnson after the event. “Each year, I enjoy seeing what these kids are able to come up with. Both of these trips are outstanding leadership experiences. They look great on job and college applications and resumes. We’re happy to send some of our future leaders on these trips.”

In addition to presenting their projects, the finalists took a written test, were interviewed by the co-op’s judges and competed in a game show. These scores were added together with scores 

for presentation skills and professional maturity. The top point earner from each of Co-Mo’s three service districts won a trip to Washington, D.C. The cooperative selected a fourth winner, who was chosen based on the highest point total after the district winners. The next five won the trip to CYCLE. 

Youth Tour began in 1957, after future president Lyndon Johnson challenged a gathering of electric cooperative leaders from across the country to send young people to Washington, D.C., so they could see what the flag truly stands for. Missouri sent its first group of delegates in 1964. 

CYCLE — or the Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience as it’s formally known — lasts three days each July. For the 80 or so high school seniors who attend, it’s three days of learning about electric cooperatives, Missouri government and leadership skills. Along the way, they get to have fun and make new friends, too. Now in its ninth year, CYCLE has grown from 30 participants to close to 100. 

“We’re committed to our youth,” said Johnson. “These trips enrich the lives of our youth. These opportunities open their eyes to new horizons.”

For more on these trips, visit Co-Mo Electric’s website at www.co-mo.coop. If your school is interested in being a part of next year’s Youth Tour program, please contact the cooperative at 800-781-0157. 

If your school is interested in competing, or you have a homeschooled junior, please contact the cooperative to learn about next year’s contest. Call us at 800-781-0157 and ask about the Youth Tour program.