Each summer, Missouri high school students have the opportunity to visit Jefferson City to learn about state government and Electric Cooperatives, and to grow in their leadership skills.
The experience, called the Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience — or CYCLE — is one of the ways your Missouri Electric Cooperatives apply the fifth Electric Cooperative Principle: Education, Training and Information.
The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives says that CYCLE’s “focus is to show students more about electric cooperatives, teach leadership skills and experience Missouri state government.”
During their three days in Jefferson City, CYCLE youth make new friends, take exclusive tours, hear keynote presentations, attend exciting events, and even visit the Missouri Supreme Court, where Judge Mary Rhodes Russell explains how Court decisions are made.
How to Apply for CYCLE
If your son or daughter is interested in applying for CYCLE, you should contact your Electric Cooperative to find out more about its application process. Many Cooperatives select CYCLE delegates from among losing entrants of their local Electric Cooperative Youth Tour [link to Youth Tour post] essay contents.
“The Co-ops had a lot of good Youth Tour entrants who didn’t win the big trip [to Washington, D.C.],” Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives explained to Rural Missouri magazine. “But the co-ops wanted to send the kids somewhere they could learn and have fun at the same time. Our CYCLE program was born out of that need (source).”
Other Cooperatives have a separate application process for CYCLE and the Youth Tour. You can find your Cooperative here, or you can contact the Association of Missouri Rural Electric Cooperatives by calling 573-635-6857.
CYCLE’s Impact on the Community
In its first year, just 30 students participated in the program, and now around 100 students participate each year. In fact, the program has been so successful that it’s received acclaim from the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA).
In 2006, NRECA — the national service organization for more than 900 nonprofit Electric Cooperatives in 47 states —awarded CYCLE with the prestigious National Community Service Award. CYCLE is a service to Missouri youth, but it’s also an investment in rural Missouri’s future.
Hart told Rural Missouri magazine that, “The future economic viability of rural communities depends on the cooperatives developing their rural leadership. These kids are our future (source).”
Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives are committed to investing in the future leadership of our rural Missouri communities through the CYCLE program and the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Learn more about these commitements, and about how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.