Contact: Donna Snellings, 1-888-335-0500, firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTHERN VIRGINIA – The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative took five area high school students to Richmond on Feb. 10, 2011 to see the Commonwealth’s General Assembly in action as part of the Cooperative’s annual Richmond Youth Tour Legislative Day.
NOVEC selected the five students in spring 2010 through a competitive screening process among applicants whose families receive electric power from NOVEC. The students were: Tyler Gass, Battlefield High School, Haymarket; Gladys Ibanez-Alers, Freedom High School, South Riding; Matthew Munson, Seton High School, Manassas; Taylor Owens, Osbourn Park High School, Prince William; Krista Shaw, Pope John Paul the Great High School, Dumfries.
During the Richmond tour, the group met with Virginia Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary David Tyeryar, and discussed the legislative process with Allan Sharrett, the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperative’s director of regulatory and legislative affairs. They had the opportunity to tour the Executive Mansion and the state capitol. They observed the House of Delegates while in session, and watched bills being discussed and voted on.
“It was an experience of a lifetime, which many teenagers do not have,” said Shaw. “I bragged to my teachers and friends about the program and being recognized on the floor of the House of Delegates.”
The Youth Tour for these students began in June 2010 when they visited Washington, D.C., to see how the United States government works. They joined more than 1,400 high school students sponsored by other electric cooperatives from across the country.
Donna Snellings, NOVEC Youth Tour coordinator, said, “The students spoke directly with legislators, learned from legislative aides and interns, visited historical landmarks and made life-long friends. This experience helped them see how they can make a difference in their communities.”
Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the 1957 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting in Chicago. The senator and future president declared, "If one thing goes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents." The idea grew and in 1964 NRECA began coordinating joint activities among delegations during Youth Tour week. Soon after, NRECA added state capital visits to Youth Tour.
In April 2011, NOVEC will select five more high school sophomores and juniors for the all-expense-paid tour. The tour will be June 12-15 in Washington, D.C., and conclude with the Richmond visit in February 2012. Students who receive electric power in their homes from NOVEC may obtain applications from their high schools, from Donna Snellings at email@example.com, or from NOVEC’s website, www.novec.com.
NRECA is the national service organization dedicated to representing the national interests of approximately 900 cooperative electric utilities and the consumers they serve.