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The History of Youth Tour

Lyndon JohnsonSenator Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the NRECA Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. The Senator declared, "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."

Consequently, beginning in 1957, some of the Texas electric cooperatives sent groups of young people to Washington to work during the summer in Senator Johnson's office, to learn more about government in action. In 1958, rural electric cooperatives in Iowa sponsored the first group of 34 young people on a week-long study tour of the nation's capital. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois. The idea grew and other states sent busloads of young people throughout the summer. By 1959, the Youth Tour had grown to 130 youths.

In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate the program and suggested that co-op representatives from each state arrange to be in Washington, D.C. during Youth Tour week. The first year of the coordinated tour included approximately 400 young people from 12 states. The idea has continued to grow and today more than 1,500 young people and chaperones participate every year with over 40,000 students to date participating in the Youth Tour.

NRECA coordinates hotel space, maintains a Youth Tour office in the hotel, arranges to have a full time nurse on duty, and offers film, postage stamps and Youth Tour souvenirs for sale. NRECA organizes educational programs on cooperatives, rural electrification and government. Additionally, NRECA coordinates Youth Day - all Youth Tour participants get together to listen to prominent speakers and complete the day with a dinner dance. NRECA also coordinates a Youth Tour essay contest, boat cruises on the Potomac and theater tickets to one of Washington's professional theaters.

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Information on Lyndon Baines Johnson can be found by visiting the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. The LBJ Library and Museum is located at 2313 Red River St., Austin, TX 78705. For information please call (512) 721-0200 or email johnson.library@nara.gov. The LBJ Library Museum is open every day, except Christmas, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Reading Room is open Monday - Friday, except on Federal Holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Parking is free.

Contact Information

White River Valley Electric Cooperative

Diana Bradford at 417-335-9335

or by mail at:

White River Valley Electric Cooperative

Attn: Diana Bradford
P O Box 969
Branson, Missouri 65615

Previous Winners

Daniel Ramey --- Branson High School
Faith Wheelock --- Chadwick High School
Breeana House --- Forsyth High School

Sarah Copeland --- Ava High School
Cody Watson --- Forsyth High School
Kylie Tannehill --- Reeds Spring High School

Klaire Bruce --- Homeschooled
McKensie Hodges --- Hollister High School
Megan Reed --- Forsyth High School

Richelle Pettit --- Ava High School
Tyler LeClear --- Ava Victory Academy
Alexandra Johnson --- Ozark High School

David Hahn --- Chadwick High School
Trevor Ball --- Nixa High School
Caleb Hambelton --- Gainesville High School

Kayla Matzek --- Forsyth High School
Stephanie Hoseth --- Gainesville High School
Shannon Haynie --- Branson High School

Kaleb Beckett --- Branson High School
Katie Roberts --- Homeschooled
Lauren Owens --- Forsyth High School

Kayla Fringer --- Sparta High School
Sandra Anderson --- Gainesville High School
Erin Bills --- Forsyth High School