Kaija Weishalla wins Washington, D.C. Youth Tour trip

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative is proud to announce that Kaija Weishalla, a sophomore at Bertha-Hewitt High School, has been selected as the cooperative’s 2018 Youth Tour representative.  She will join approximately 40 Minnesota students and 1,600 other students from around the nation, for the 2018 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., June 9-14.

Kaija Weishalla

“Kaija will gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and make connections with others from across the country that will last a lifetime,” said Kallie Van De Venter, Communications Specialist and Youth Tour coordinator for Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative. “Our youth are the future for our community and our country, and we can give them the tools to succeed. Todd-Wadena looks forward to continuing our tradition of contributing to the education of our youth.”

Kaija is the daughter of John and Karla Weishalla of Bertha. “One of the biggest reasons I would love to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity is to learn more about cooperatives, our country, and how it is run,” said Kaija. Her favorite subject in school is history and enjoys learning about different inventors, politicians, and government officials that have impacted our country.

This all-expense paid trip is a part of an annual Youth Tour sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) and Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative. Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. The Senator and future President declared, “If one thing comes 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.”

The Youth Tour program continues to foster the grassroots spirit of the rural electric cooperatives by demonstrating to our youth how our government works and what the electric cooperative business model is all about. Building the next generation of leaders is what the Youth Tour program is all about. Many former Youth Tour representatives have moved on to serve in significant position in our communities, including members of congress. In a time when energy is at the forefront of our nation’s issues, this is a great opportunity to have a hand in the creation of electric cooperative advocates!

Students on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour will participate in leadership training, engage in one-on-one conversations with elected officials, jumpstart their national peer network and tour the famous sites of Washington, D.C.  The tour includes visits to the Smithsonian, the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, the WWII, Vietnam, Korean War Veteran’s Memorials as well as the Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln and MLK, Jr. Memorials, and much more.

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