The Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tour program is a grassroots effort to educate high school juniors about electric cooperatives and their ideals. Youth Tour provides a unique opportunity for participating cooperatives to expose young people to the importance of cooperatives and their prominence in everyday American life.
Montgomery Youth Tour
Tombigbee Electric visits all of the high schools in our service territory to discuss Youth Tour. Every high school junior in our service territory is invited to submit an application and write a short essay describing themselves and their goals. Nine students are then selected to travel to Montgomery in March of each year where they will join more than 130 other high school juniors from across the state to participate in Montgomery Youth Tour. While in Montgomery, these students have the opportunity to take part in activities such as Q&A sessions with representatives about topics that interest them; tour the Civil Rights Memorial, the Capitol and the State House; visit the Rosa Parks Museum and the State Judicial Building; and tour the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and parsonage where so much of our state's history took place.
Washington Youth Tour
After returning from the Montgomery Youth Tour, Tombigbee Electric selects one of the nine students who participated in Montgomery Youth Tour to join approximately 45 other students from across the state to travel to Washington, D.C. in June for a week-long tour, joining more than 1,500 students from across the nation. Washington Youth Tour is jam-packed with fun-filled activities and visits to America's most popular and historic places. Stops along the way include the U.S. Capitol, the Korean and Vietnam Memorials, the Kennedy Center, Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian Institute among countless other museums and areas of interest.
A special event during the tour is Rural Electric Youth Day, when students hear from prominent speakers and take part in a "Town Hall" meeting. Perhaps the most significant part of the tour is the opportunity for the students to meet with their U.S. Senators and Representatives. After all, the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow!
This week long adventure ends wiht the All-States Farewell Dance when students get a chance to strengthen life-long friendships with fellow students from the 43 participating states. Although the youth tour experience is filled with fun activities, its overall purpose is to increase the students understanding of the value of rural electrification, help them become more familiar with the historical and political environment of the nation's capitol and visit with elected officials to increase their knowledge of how our federal government works.