Application deadline a week away for high school students' DC trip

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— High school students who will be juniors or seniors in 2014-15 have an opportunity for an all-expenses-paid trip to spend a week in the nation’s capital and visit some of the country’s most historic landmarks.

But judging by the lack of applications, students may not know what they are missing.

The deadline for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, which also will make a day stop at the Colorado government offices in Denver, is Friday, but Yampa Valley Electric Association representative Melissa Watson said no applications have come in yet.

“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an overflow of applicants like you would expect,” Watson wrote in an email. “They trickle in. Last year, we only received a couple of applications.”

The application consists of a short quiz, an essay and a completed application form. All materials can be found on YVEA’s website by clicking on the “Youth Programs” selection under the “New Member Information” tab on the homepage.

It’s a youth program in which YVEA has been participating for at least 20 years, Watson said, and it’s completely funded out of the electric cooperative’s pocket. The Colorado Rural Electric Association organizes the weeklong trip every year, and YVEA pays it directly.

The only stipulation beyond an acceptable application packet is the student’s parent or guardian must be a YVEA member.

This year’s trip is slated for June 12 to 19 and will begin with the stop in Denver to tour an electrical cooperative and the state Capitol, culminating with dinner with a state legislator. The following day, students will fly to Washington, D.C., and meet juniors and seniors from nine other participating states.

The remaining five days are packed with activities such as touring the National Cathedral, a cruise on the Potomac River, visiting Ford’s Theatre and touring the U.S. Capitol.

Perhaps the biggest day of the trip is National Youth Day on Day 5. All participating students will meet under one roof to collaborate and “learn the important role of being an active participant in our democracy,” the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association website states.

The Youth Tour idea originally came from the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, who tossed out the idea of “sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.”

More than 50 years later, the Youth Tour sends almost 1,600 students on the trip each go-around.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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