Leaders of tomorrow represent their co-op on Youth Day


For more than 60 years, the electric and telephone cooperatives of Illinois
have given tomorrow’s leaders the opportunity to learn from today’s public officials. On March
20, more than 200 students from across rural Illinois represented 25 co-ops during Youth Day,
including five from Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative (RECC).
“Youth Day gives students across the state an up-close look at democracy in action as
they meet their elected representatives in Springfield,” said Baylee Flowers, legal and
government relations coordinator at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives. “State
senators and representatives have the opportunity to inspire and encourage the leaders of
tomorrow during this annual event.”
In addition to meeting elected officials, the students also learned more about their electric
or telephone cooperative’s role in their own communities and had the opportunity to tour the
Illinois State Capitol and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
State Senators Doris Turner (D-48) and Steve McClure (R-54) and Representatives C.D.
Davidsmeyer (R-100), Brad Halbrook (R-107) and Wayne Rosenthal (R-108) met with the
students representing RECC. These students included Sophia Waghorn, Carson Contreras,
Michael Biesenthal, Raegan Landrey and Kristi Wright.
During lunch, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Natalie Phelps Finnie
addressed the students. She discussed her background as a healthcare provider and how she got
into politics. She encouraged them to follow their passions, live confidently, and work hard.
“You’re embarking upon adulthood,” Phelps Finnie said to the students. “You can do
anything you want to do. I just ask that you come to adulthood with the right posture and
attitude. … Don’t come with a sense of entitlement that everything is owed to you. Work for it.
Earn it.”
The attendees were later interviewed for a chance to participate in the Youth Tour, an
annual Washington, D.C. event sponsored by cooperatives. This year’s trip will be held June 14-
21. Contreras, Biesenthal, and Wright will represent RECC on the weeklong trip and meet their
elected officials, see historic sites, learn firsthand how cooperatives work, and gain valuable
leadership skills.
Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative (RECC) is a member of Touchstone Energy — a
national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of
service to members large and small. More than 700 Touchstone Energy cooperatives in 46 states
are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day. RECC is
committed to providing superior service based on four core principles: integrity, accountability,
innovation and commitment to community. The co-op serves more than 5,900 meters over 1,380
miles of line in parts of Christian, Macoupin, Montgomery, Morgan and Sangamon counties.