Youth Tour

Youth Tour

Electric Cooperative Youth Tour

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

Jefferson Memorial

Washington, D.C. Youth Tour

In June, students from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho will participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Tour. 

High school juniors and seniors who live in our service area have the opportunity once a year to apply for an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. to learn about electric cooperatives and the Federal legislative process. They will explore museums and monuments, and have the opportunity to meet with Oregon’s congressional delegation.

map of Washington D.C.

What is the Youth Tour

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. for a week in June every year since the late 1950s. Students interested in participating in the Youth Tour can apply by submitting an application to their local electric cooperative. If selected, the youth delegate will get to see the nation’s capital up close, learn about the political process, and meet their state’s elected officials. 

Nearly 50,000 students from across America have participated in this program. Some of the Youth Tour alumni have gone on to design airplanes, lead companies, and serve in the highest ranks of our government, including the U.S. Senate. Don’t be surprised if you run into a former Youth Tour participant who is a congressional aide on Capitol Hill. While several of the alumni work in Washington, you will find even more alumni in your own community.

High school juniors and seniors in Salem Electric's service territory are encouraged to apply to be part of this fun (free!) week in Washington, D.C.

Origins and History

Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. 

By 1959 the Youth Tour had grown to 130 students, and in 1964 NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the state delegations and co-op representatives. The first year of the coordinated Youth Tour included approximately 400 young people from 12 states. The program has continued to grow and today, more than 1,500 students and over 250 chaperones participate in the Youth Tour every year.

Youth Tour directors from each state association arrange their delegation’s visits to their U.S. representatives’ and senators’ offices, federal agencies, and other educational and sightseeing activities. 

How to Apply


  • Open to current high school juniors and seniors only
  • Student must live in Salem Electric's service area
  • The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. January 16, 2024


  • Attend the NRECA Youth Tour in Washington, D. C.  June 16–22, 2024 (all expenses paid with the exception of spending money)
  • Provide a presentation about your tour experience at the Salem Electric Board meeting on July 23, 2024
  • Submit a 200 word article of your tour experience for Salem Electric's Co-op Newsletter (deadline July 23, 2024)


The application is available for download or can be picked up at our office at 633 7th Street NW, Salem, Oregon.

Students are asked to write an essay on a separate sheet of paper, 500 words or less, and respond to the following questions:

  • What is an electric cooperative and how is it different from an investor-owned utility?
  • Why should you be selected as Salem Electric's 2024 Youth Tour delegate?
  • What do you hope to learn from the experience?

The application and essay must be received by 5:00 p.m. January 16, 2024, to be considered. Applications can be mailed, dropped off at our office, or sent electronically. Please contact Randi Johnson at 503-362-3601  with any questions.

Mailing Address:

Salem Electric
Youth Tour Application
Randi Johnson, Executive Assistant
PO Box 5588, Salem, OR, 97304


Subject: Youth Tour Application

Office Location:

Salem Electric
633 7th Street NW, Salem, OR
Office Hours: Monday–Thursday, 7:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.