Thirty-eight high school students representing Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives traveled to Washington, D.C., from June 14-20 and joined more than 1,900 other students from across the nation for the 2019 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Iowa’s electric cooperatives were the first ones to send students to Washington, D.C., back in 1958; this year marks the 61st anniversary of the journey.
“The Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students, and we’re proud to send 38 of Iowa’s best and brightest to our nation’s capital this year to participate,” said Chuck Soderberg, Executive Vice President of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. “These students gained a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and made connections with other student leaders from across the country that will last a lifetime. We look forward to continuing the Youth Tour tradition for years to come.”
This year Jacob Ludeking and Kaylee Kleitsch were sponsored by East-Central Iowa REC.
Jacob Ludeking attends Benton Community High School and is the son George and Theresa Ludeking of Norway. Jacob is an honor roll student. His school activities include speech, band, show choir, musicals, and plays. He is an Iowa Ambassador of Music and serves as a reporter of the Benton Community FFA Chapter. Jacob’s activities outside school include being a member of the Florence Go-Getters 4-H Club, where he has served as president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter; he has represented Iowa 4-H as a state delegate to the National 4-H Congress. Jacob is also a member of the 4-H and FFA livestock judging teams, has been an altar server for several years, and has served as an assistant fifth-grade religious education teacher at his church.
Kaylee Kleitsch attends Wapsie Valley High School and is the daughter of Richard and Brenda Kleitsch of Fairbank. Kaylee is an honor roll student. Her school activities include archery and being a student ambassador representative. She is also a member of the Wapsie Valley FFA Chapter, where she holds the position of sentinel and is part of the conduct of meetings team and poultry judging. Kaylee is also a teacher’s assistant and is part of the Talented and Gifted Program (TAG), choir, chamber choir, and musicals. Her activities outside school include being a member of the Atom Bombers 4-H Club, where she serves as president. She is also a library volunteer, babysitter, and house- and pet-sitter for several families. Finally, Kaylee is a Vacation Bible School teacher, lector, and member of several other church groups and fundraisers.
Students on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour participated in leadership training, engaged in one-on-one conversations with elected officials, jumpstarted their national peer network, learned about electric cooperatives, and toured the monuments and museums of Washington, D.C.
Students apply and are selected for this program by their local electric cooperative. Nationally, nearly 50,000 students have participated in this program over the decades. For more information, visit www.youthtour.coop