June 15–21, 2023
Each year, WECA Member cooperatives sponsor young people for participation in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. In June 2023, 12 youth delegates representing 10 Wisconsin electric cooperatives joined roughly 2,000 additional youth delegates from across the nation for the annual event. Wisconsin’s Federated Youth Foundation, a co-op sponsored, independent charitable organization, provides significant financial support for Youth Tour participation through the proceeds from investments financed by unclaimed co-op patronage credits.Every electric co-op has the opportunity to sponsor students for this educational tour of national monuments and visits with elected officials at their Capitol offices.
WECA YOUTH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
July 11–13, 2023
A key component of WECA's educational programming for young people, the three-day Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) has been held each summer since 1964. The 2022 YLC attracted more than 60 students sponsored by 17 cooperatives. Activities focus on maximizing leadership potential, understanding cooperatives, and co-op governance—the students organize and operate a functioning cooperative during the event—effective communication, and turning mistakes into stepping stones for success.
Participating students elect a six-member WECA Youth Board who will help plan the following year's Youth Leadership Conference, have the opportunity to attend the NRECA Youth Tour, and visit the WECA offices and State Capitol legislative offices. A feature of the Youth Leadership Conference is the annual WECA Essay Contest. In 2021, more than 20 students, writing on co-op oriented subjects, competed for three scholarships of $1000, $500, and $250, redeemable at any accredited post-secondary educational institution in the U.S.
The event offers a head start in understanding cooperative business principles for the upcoming generation of co-op leaders.