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About two dozen high school-age students from Virginia, Maryland and Delaware participated in the 2022 Youth Tour, sponsored by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

With lingering issues related to the pandemic and accommodations in Washington, D.C., the 2022 VMD Association tour took a different tack, focusing more on events in Hampton Roads and Tidewater Virginia. Eight co-ops were represented on the tour.

On June 20, participants met in Richmond before busing to Norfolk for a visit to the botanical gardens and an evening cruise. The next day included a civic education lesson with Virginia Delegates Jackie Glass, Shelly Simonds and Emily Brewer, who represent Districts 89, 94 and 64, respectively. Simonds is a former Youth Tour participant.

Students also went to Community Electric Cooperative, where they saw up close what a lineworker does during the course of a day, watching a live line demo and other exhibitions.

Other activities included tours of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, the Battleship Wisconsin and the Air and Space Museum in Hampton. Also on the agenda were Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement.

Discussions of the cooperative business model and leadership skills were a major feature of the events, which ran from June 20-24.

Carter Rees, a student from Madison County High School, representing Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, said he was impressed by the physicality of the lineworkers at Community Electric.

“It really was an experience of a lifetime,” Rees said. “I learned so much in such a short period of time and also had a blast. I’m grateful to REC for this opportunity.”

—Report by Steven Johnson, Vice President, Communications, VMD Association