Washington Youth Tour & Cooperative Youth Summit

Washington Youth Tour & Cooperative Youth Summit in Columbia, S.C.

Washington, D.C. June 9 – 14, 2018 *** Columbia, S.C. July 10 – 13, 2018

Students Will Represent Marlboro Electric Cooperative


Marlboro Electric Cooperative will select five rising high school seniors from Marlboro and Dillon counties to attend two separate educational field trips in 2018, one to Washington, D.C. and the second to Columbia, S.C. Students will learn first-hand what it’s like to be involved in politics, community service and the energy industry.

The all-expenses paid trips are sponsored by Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC) and attendees will be selected by their local electric cooperative. ECSC is the statewide service and trade association for local electric cooperatives.

Three selected students will gather in Washington, D.C., June 9 – 14, 2018 with approximately 1,500 students representing electric cooperatives from across the country as part of the annual Youth Tour, a six-day experience aimed at educating participants about government and electric cooperatives. While in Washington, the students will meet their S.C. congressional representative, visit nearby landmarks, monuments, other historic sites, and museums.

Two other students will travel to Columbia July 10 – 13, 2018 to participate in the Cooperative Youth Summit, an all-expense-paid trip, where students are given an introduction to the business model behind cooperatives and visit various local educational sites in our state’s capitol. The 2018 trip will be the second trip to Columbia by South Carolina students. In July 2017, 46 high school students and seven chaperones representing 15 electric cooperatives spent three days in the city on the first statewide

MEC's 2017 Washington Youth Tour
representatives McKenzie Jordan,
Kathryn Harrill and Eleanor Vereen.

Cooperative Youth Summit.

2017 Washington Youth Tour
2017 Washington Youth Tour

Interested students can apply between now and Mar. 1, 2018 for the two educational trips. A panel of judges at MEC will contact successful applicants no later than March 20, 2018.

The Washington trip is a joint effort of local electric cooperatives, their statewide co-op associations, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), based in Arlington, Va. Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 40,000 high school students for visits to their U.S. Congressional delegations, energy  and grassroots government education sessions and sightseeing in Washington. NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.

Last year’s Columbia trip included visits to Tri-County Electric’s solar energy farm in St. Matthews, the Statehouse and students received an explanation of lobbying by ECSC government relations staff. Also, they met a judge and a legislator, toured the Richland County Landfill Gas-to-Energy facility, went to Riverbanks Zoo, and had a catered dinner at the historic Robert Mills House.

The highlight of the day for the students came when what was scheduled to be a short visit with Gov. Henry McMaster turned into an impromptu personal greeting with all 46 attendees. After sharing words of encouragement and answering questions, McMaster gave the students a tour of his personal office and conference room and spent more than 45 minutes taking pictures and talking with each of the attendees.

For more information about the Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. or the Cooperative Youth Summit in Columbia, S.C., please contact Hanna Cheek, MEC’s Marketing & Communications Representative, at (843) 454-2880.

Click here for application