Youth Tour

2024 Youth Tour

We are in the process of planning a great 2024 Youth Tour.  For more information on how to apply for Louisiana Youth Tour, contact the Youth Tour Director.

Important Dates for the 2023-2024 Youth Leadership Council Representative

ALEC Annual Meeting, Baton Rouge, LA July 23, 2023
NRECA PowerXchange Meeting, San Antonio, Texas – March 1-6, 2024

2023-2024 Youth Leadership Council

In addition to going to Washington, D.C. as a Louisiana Youth Tour delegate.  Students may apply to be Louisiana’s representative to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Leadership Council (YLC). The YLC is comprised of one representative from each that participates in the Youth Tour. YLC members have the opportunity for additional free travel, leadership training, and scholarships.

YLC representatives will have the opportunity to hone their public speaking skills, develop their leadership skills, and enhance their understanding of politics.

All YLC representatives assist NRECA staff with the NRECA PowerXchange Meeting held in the spring of the following year. YLC’s responsibilities at this meeting will include participating in the opening assembly by carrying our Louisiana Flag, staffing information booths, learning about energy issues, and assisting with committee meetings.

At the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting in Baton Rouge in July, Louisiana’s YLC representative will deliver a brief (5-7 minutes) speech about his or her experiences in Washington, DC. and how the trip it impacted their life. This meeting is highly attended by cooperative leadership and key personnel who look forward to and expect a high-quality speech.

Meet our 2023-2024 YLC Representative

Gavin Bernard from WSTE.

What is the Washington Youth Tour?

The Youth Tour is an annual, weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington that is open to high school students across Louisiana. This all-expense-paid trip is worth over $2,000.

Five Louisiana electric cooperatives participate in the Youth Tour Program. Each co-op has a unique method of selecting the student or students they will sponsor.

If you want to have fun, meet students from across the country, speak to your legislators, tour Washington, D.C., and become a part of a national fellowship, apply now!

Our Story

Political leaders, accomplished authors, business leaders – including Apple CEO Tim Cook – are proud Youth Tour alumni.

In 1957, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, urged national electric cooperative leaders to bring young people to Washington to get a first-hand look at how government works.

“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,” Johnson said at the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

In Johnson’s home state, cooperatives heeded his call by sending groups of young people to Washington to work during the summer in his office. In 1958, a cooperative in Iowa sponsored a week-long tour of the nation’s capital for a group of 34 students. Later that year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois. The idea soon caught on and other states began sending groups of young people throughout the summer. By 1959, the Youth Tour comprised 130 students.

In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the states and suggested that representatives from each state arrange to be in D.C. during Youth Tour week. During the first year of the coordinated tour, cooperatives from 12 states sent about 400 young people. Word of the program continued to spread. Today, more than 1,800 young people and their chaperones attend the Youth Tour every year.

Our Purpose

Louisiana’s electric cooperatives send students to Washington for a number of reasons, including:

  • Rewarding students for academic achievement through a writing contest;
  • Educating students about the role of electric co-ops in the national economy;
  • Fostering students’ appreciation for the democratic form of government;
  • Exposing students to the sights and sounds of our nation’s heritage; and
  • Building students’ leadership skills so that they may make a difference in their communities.

Who sponsors the Youth Tour?

The Youth Tour is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperative (ALEC), and most of the Louisiana’s electric distribution cooperatives and our affiliates.

How do I Apply?

If you are a high school student, contact your local Electric Cooperative for eligibility requirements.

If you want to know whether or not you’re eligible for this trip or if you need information about procedures and deadlines, your best bet is to contact the Youth Tour coordinator at your local electric cooperative. If, however, your question is of a more general nature, please feel free to contact us at the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperative. If you prefer you may also contact us by phone at (225) 200-6434 or (800) 355-3450 ext. 112, or e-mail Conley Bourgeois at

Participating cooperatives are listed below:


For more information, also visit the Youth Tour page at NRECA website.