This summer, I represented Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative (DVEC) at the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and was selected as North Dakota’s delegate on the national Youth Leadership Council (YLC). A special thanks to DVEC and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives for helping make this happen! These experiences have made a huge, positive impact on my life and the memories I made will last a lifetime.


Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C., for a week in June every year since the late 1950s. Local electric cooperatives sponsor students because they believe our youth should see our nation’s capital, learn about the political process and interact with their elected officials.

How do you apply? If your parents or guardians are electric cooperative members and you are a sophomore or junior, you can enter an essay contest. Watch your family’s North Dakota Living magazine for details.

If your essay is chosen, you will be one of 1,800 student delegates who will gather to explore the many national monuments, memorials, museums and historic landmarks in Washington, D.C. You will hear national speakers address the impact electric cooperatives have in their local communities, and meet with North Dakota’s members of Congress.

Our youth group from North Dakota started as strangers, but we became the best of friends.

As North Dakota’s YLC delegate, I returned to Washington, D.C., in July for a leadership workshop that focused on the electric cooperative industry. I will be representing North Dakota at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting, where I will have a hands-on experience with virtually every facet of the meeting, including the resolutions process. As a YLC delegate, I feel I have become a more poised, confident and better developed leader, with a strong determination to improve my community and make our country a better place.

Youth Tour is an incredible, educational experience. Every eligible youth should apply. Believe me, it’s a topnotch trip you will never forget!

Karly Just, a junior at LaMoure High School, is the daughter of Christof and Kelli Just, and the granddaughter of James and Connie Bitz, all members of DVEC.