White River Valley Electric Cooperation
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Giving Back to Local Youth

White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) is dedicated to helping students in our coverage area learn about electric cooperatives, democracy and government in their country.

Our Annual Youth Tour provides a once-in-a-lifetime hands-on experience by giving students the ability to experience our nation’s capital first hand. The program is open to high school juniors and cultivates their understanding of how government and related organizations impact their lives.

The goals of Youth Tour are all-encompassing, but a few of the most important are:

  • To foster student’s appreciation for the democratic form of government.
  • To educate students about the important role of electric cooperatives in the nation’s economy.
  • To expand the student’s understanding and appreciation of electric cooperative’s as a business model.
  • To understand the importance of rural electricity.
  • To build student leadership skills.

Youth Tour is an extraordinary experience for students of academic achievement to visit Washington, D.C. They will meet the leaders of today, our current representatives and senators, in order to learn to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Learn more about the history of Youth Tour and our involvement in it. See a list of the previous winners, or learn about how to enter.

For more information, contact Diana Bradford at 417-335-9335


A Student's Perspective

The Youth Tour was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I still can’t believe that as a junior in high school, I was provided the opportunity for a free trip to Washington D.C. On the Youth Tour, I met some of my absolute best friends, got to explore the foundation of our country, and learned so much more than I ever would have learned in a classroom. And honestly, there is no other cooperative I would have represented than White River. All the employees at White River make you feel right at home and they have so much fun with you. They provided our way up to Jeff City, paid for all of our food, and we even did a side activity on the way: Downhill Ruckus.

At first, I was really nervous about going on the trip, even though my best friend happened to be one of the winners as well. But I was immediately put at ease once we started the trip. All of us got to know each other really well in the truck, which made me feel much more comfortable. Once we got to Jeff City, I got nervous again, but most of the other winners were super outgoing and immediately started introducing themselves. By the end of the night, I was very excited about going on the trip!

There are so many places you get to go on the Youth Tour. They take you to lots of monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial. They also take you to a variety of museums. Two of my favorites were the Smithsonian Institute and the Newseum. However, before you go to the Smithsonian, make sure you know which parts of it you would like to see most, because you will not be able to make it to each one. Those were probably my favorite parts of the trip. You get to visit the White House and also go to Mount Vernon, which is super interesting. And usually, they always have an extra fun activity planned. We went to a play, Thurgood, which was in the Kennedy Center.

The Youth Tour is so much fun and has so much more to it than what I have been able to say in a few paragraphs. Since winning the Youth Tour, I have encouraged as many people as I can to enter, helped with essays, and answered tons of questions about my experience on the trip. I would definitely recommend the trip to everyone. I mean, come on, where else will you be able to go on a free trip to Washington D.C. all for writing an essay? And when I say free, I mean FREE. Your airfare, gas, food, everything except souvenirs is paid for by the cooperative. You are in the hands of amazing chaperones, meet some of the best friends you’ll ever have, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Richelle Pettit
WRVEC Youth Tour winner, 2010