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OEC’s best-known and most anticipated youth program.

Perhaps OEC’s best-known and most anticipated youth program, Youth Tour is a week-long, all-expenses-paid educational trip to Washington, D.C. in June of each year. OEC annually sponsors four delegates—all juniors—from high schools within its service territory on Youth Tour. Students travel with the Oklahoma delegation (70+ students) to our nation’s capital where they tour historic sites and national landmarks, meet Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, and more. Youth Tour has earned a reputation as “a trip of a lifetime” by former participants. Youth Tour will be June 18-24, 2021.

Applicants will submit an essay or written speech on the topic outlined below. Eight applicants will be selected as finalists to progress in the contest. Four of the eight finalists will be chosen as “Youth Tourians” at the Mon., Feb. 22 event. The other four finalists will have the opportunity to attend RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) Leadership Camp at Goddard Youth Camp.

Over 80 years ago, America’s farmers and rural citizens joined together to bring electricity to their communities — communities which the for-profit companies refused to serve. As a result, they improved the quality of life for rural Americans by satisfying an unmet need. Today, co-ops of all kinds bring that same spirit of purpose and cooperation to the changing needs of a new generation both rural and urban.

How would you use co-op principles to satisfy a need in your community? Convince the audience to join your endeavor. Contest resources, updates, reminders, and more will be posted on OEC’s Facebook page. Look for co-op business model examples.

Co-ops 101: An Introduction to Cooperatives provides a comprehensive summary of basic information on the cooperative way of organizing and operating a business. It covers the nature and extent of the use of cooperatives, compares cooperatives to other business structures, explains the various roles employees and members play within the co-op, and more. This is a publication of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). America’s Electric Cooperatives / National Rural Electric Cooperative Association / Search for “Youth Tour” using the website’s search option to find videos of past tours, speeches from Youth Leadership Council members, and more.

USDA Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service houses a library of more than 150 co-op publications ranging from basic co-op primers, such as “Co-ops 101,” to in-depth reports on technical topics, to reports that focus on co-op economic theory, such as “The Nature of the Cooperative.” To access these publications, please see Publications for Cooperatives.  National Co+op Grocers (NCG)  National Cooperative Business Association   About Credit Unions  Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Youth Tour details

In this contest, you are being judged on your power of persuasion–first in writing and then in oration. You need to convince us (the audience) that your co-op will satisfy an unmet need or solve a problem that no other group or company will solve. You may need to convince us that the “unmet need or problem” is something we should care about. Making a connection with your audience is vital for the success of your co-op. [Think Shark Tank for co-ops.]

The first step in making a connection with your audience occurs well before you meet them. Choose your co-op carefully and pick a topic you care about.

Eight finalists will be chosen to move forward in the competition. Finalists are required to attend a half-day speech workshop, Saturday, January, 30, where they will learn techniques to hone their speech-craft and visual presentation skills. Finalists are also required to compete at the OEC Youth Tour Contest, Monday, February 22. The Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C. is June 18-24, 2021. Before applying, make sure you are available on these dates.

  • I am currently a high school junior.
  • I am available to attend the Workshop (Jan. 30), Contest (Feb. 22), and Youth Tour (June 18-24).
  • I have confirmed my availability with my parents, coaches, church group, club sponsors, and anyone else who makes decisions about my life.
  • I am super excited and can’t wait to win this thing. I LOVE CO-OPS!
  • Choose a topic. Choose your co-op carefully. Your co-op should be about something you care about. OEC was formed by people who couldn’t get the for-profit utility to provide service at a fair rate. OEC Fiber is doing the same thing today by taking quality high-speed internet where no one else will. From grocery and farm co-ops to housing co-ops to education co-ops, the choice is yours and the options are infinite.
  • Write your essay or speech. 750-1,500 words and double spaced.
  • Complete the online entry form, link below. Be prepared to include information about your activities, honors and awards, positions/offices held, community involvement, and special interests.
  • Address questions to Tory Tedder-Loffland at 217-6726 or
Apply Here