The 2018 Illinois Rural Electric Youth Day introduced over 210 high school students to several of our state’s elected leaders, along with some insights about electric and telephone cooperatives.
Youth Day was sponsored on April 18 by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, with 25 co-ops from across the state participating. Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative sponsored six students from area schools at the day-long event. The group included Riley Meredith from Northwestern High School; Hailey Winslow from Glenwood High School; Kyle Dickman, Emily Curry, Abbie Simpson and Braeden Scheerer from New Berlin High School.
At the State Capitol, the RECC group met with Representatives Avery Bourne and C. D. Davidsmeyer along with Senator Andy Manar. During lunch, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti addressed the students and chaperones. Sanguinetti discussed her humble beginnings and being encouraged to not allow her background to limit her future. With her passion for volunteerism in local communities, she challenged students, “you never know where life may take you. Volunteer, make a difference. If not you, then who?”. Illinois State Fair Manager, Luke Sailer, a former Illinois Youth Leadership Council representative, challenged the students to take an interest in the political process and stressed how important their voices and actions are. He encouraged them to “take a leap of faith and work hard and doors will open for you and your future.” Faye Yang, the 2017-18 Illinois Youth Leadership Council Representative from Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative, spoke about her experiences on the Youth to Washington tour and challenged attendees to maintain an interest in their cooperatives and the political process. After lunch, the students also visited the Old State Capitol and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.