IN 1965, electric cooperatives across Texas joined forces to send a busload of youths to Washington, D.C. There the teens met with President Lyndon B. Johnson, explored the capital, and forged memories and friendships to last a lifetime. For more than five decades, Texas' electric co-ops carried on the legacy of that first Government-in-Action Youth Tour each summer.
Until the coronavirus pandemic hit. I'm saddened to announce that, for the second year in a row, Youth Tour has been canceled.
Along with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and other statewide cooperative associations, the Texas Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors decided to cancel the state's participation in the 2021 Youth Tour.
This decision was made out of an abundance of safety and caution for all those involved. After carefully considering the resources required to properly ensure the health and well-being of more than 200 Texas delegates and 20 chaperones, the TEC board determined that the risk was not worth the reward. The cancellation comes as a big blow to all of us here at Swisher Electric Cooperative. Youth Tour represents one of our most important investments in the future of the communities we serve. The students who participate in Youth Tour travel to Austin and Washington to learn about the important role of electric cooperatives, meet their congressional representatives, and gain a deeper perspective on the history and mechanisms of our democracy. Attendees often return with a renewed commitment to their hometowns, and many have gone on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians and even co-op employees in those communities.
Of course, the biggest loss of the cancellation is felt by the young people who won't get the chance to take the trip. Many have anticipated Youth Tour for years, hearing friends and family who have participated call it the trip of a lifetime.
Rest assured, as soon as conditions are deemed safe, Swisher EC will jump on the chance to send students once again on this unforgettable trip.
In the meantime, thank you for understanding this difficult decision.