The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives celebrates over 60 years of sending high school students to the nation’s capital this year as they announce that 36 Iowa high school students will attend the 2019 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour from June 14-20 this summer in Washington, D.C.

“Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students from Iowa, and we’re proud to send 36 of our best and brightest to Washington, D.C., this year to participate,” said Steve Marlow, CEO of East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative. “These students will gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process, visit our Capitol’s museums and monuments, learn about advocating on behalf of their community and make connections that will last a lifetime. Our youth are our future, and we can give them the tools to succeed in advocacy, government and public service. We look forward to this year’s trip and continuing to be a sponsor of the Youth Tour tradition.”

Iowa’s Youth Tour participants hail from all corners of the state, including two high school juniors from ECI REC’s service area. This year, Jacob Ludeking and Kaylee Kleitsch will represent ECI REC. They will visit historical sites, spend a day on Capitol Hill, meet congressional leaders, and more.

Jacob Ludeking attends Benton Community High School and is the son George and Theresa Ludeking of Norway. Jacob is an honor roll student. His school activities include speech, band, show choir, musicals, and plays. He is an Iowa Ambassador of Music and serves as reporter of the Benton Community FFA Chapter. Jacob’s activities outside school include being a member of the Florence Go-Getters 4-H Club, where he has served as president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter; he has represented Iowa 4-H as a state delegate to the National 4-H Congress. Jacob is also a member of the 4-H and FFA livestock judging teams, has been an altar server for several years, and has served as an assistant fifth grade religious education teacher at his church.

Kaylee Kleitsch attends Wapsie Valley High School and is the daughter of Richard and Brenda Kleitsch of Fairbank. Kaylee is an honor roll student. Her school activities include archery and being a student ambassador representative. She is also a member of the Wapsie Valley FFA Chapter, where she holds the position of sentinel and is part of the conduct of meetings team and poultry judging. Kaylee is also a teacher’s assistant and is part of the Talented and Gifted Program (TAG), choir, chamber choir, and musicals. Her activities outside school include being a member of the Atom Bombers 4-H Club, where she serves as president. She is also a library volunteer, babysitter, and house- and pet-sitter for several families. Finally, Kaylee is a Vacation Bible School teacher, lector, and member of several other church groups and fundraisers.

Iowa’s electric cooperatives have sponsored high school students on this trip since 1958. Students apply and are selected for this program by their local electric cooperative. Nearly 50,000 students have participated in the national Youth Tour program since its creation.

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