Three local high school students and Midwest Energy Cooperative members are touring Washington, D.C. this week as part of the 19-member Michigan delegation to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Tour.

Micaela Ruff, a senior at Dowagiac High School and daughter of Tim and Jessica Ruff; Izabella Taylor, a junior at Three Rivers High School and daughter of Lara Taylor; and Arjun Vorster, a junior at Mendon High School and son of Thomas and Tanja Jones, joined more than 1700 students representing electric cooperatives from all over the United States for this annual event. The three students were selected based on their participation at the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Youth Leadership Summit in April.

“Young Americans given the opportunity to come to Washington, D.C. by their electric cooperatives experience a life-changing event. They talk to their elected officials in person, connect to our nation’s rich history and have a hands-on experience with democracy,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “Youth Tour enriches their understanding of the political process and the vital importance of direct engagement, and as a result they return to their communities with a deeper commitment to the communities they represent.”

On Monday, Arjun was selected as Michigan’s representative to the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). The purpose of the YLC is to build leadership and public speaking skills, and enhance the delegates’ knowledge of the energy industry and the cooperative form of business. One student from each state is selected by a vote of their peers, and the entire YLC delegation returns to Washington in July for a leadership workshop.