Each year, South Kentucky RECC selects high school juniors within its service territory to go to Washington, D. C., in June, for the annual Kentucky Rural Electric Washington Youth Tour (WYT) to learn first-hand what it is like to be involved in politics and community service. They also learn about cooperatives, the cooperative principles and hear from government leaders regarding today’s pressing issues.
During WYT, students are given the opportunity to be selected to represent their state on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Leadership Council (YLC). One student from each state is selected. These students return to Washington, D.C., in July for a leadership workshop which focuses on the electric cooperative industry. The purpose of the YLC conference is to build leadership and public speaking skills, and to enhance the delegates’ knowledge of the energy industry and the cooperative form of business.
Things were different this year, though, due to COVID-19 concerns, and the Washington Youth Tour and YLC were canceled. However, South Kentucky RECC’s statewide association, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, decided to continue with YLC selection from all the students that had applied for WYT.
Each student across the state that applied for WYT was encouraged to make a video application regarding leadership. From the 12 that applied, South Kentucky RECC’s Hannah Monsanto, a senior at Somerset Christian School, was selected to represent Kentucky.
In her video application, Hannah spoke about what being a leader means to her.
“It can be standing up for your rights or for your passions; it can be leading a team into a business strategy; or it can be becoming a figure for those who need someone to look up to,” says Hannah. “Anyone can become a leader with the right amount of discipline, passion and integrity.”
She says it was quite an honor to be selected as Kentucky’s representative.
“It genuinely feels surreal. I'm genuinely grateful for this opportunity, and I can't wait to see what this next year holds!”
Mary Beth Dennis, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Director of Cooperative Outreach, says Hannah’s leadership skills, which led to her selection as YLC, will be used this year to help promote Kentucky’s electric cooperatives on social media, to assist in promotional videos for Youth Tour and at other events, as needed.
Dennis adds it was unfortunate that the program had to be canceled this year.
“This year, we were so disappointed that WYT and YLC were canceled, because we cannot recreate the connections that these students make with each other and their cooperatives. However, we believe the health and safety of our students is the most important thing. We are hopeful that next year we will be able to take the students to Washington DC again.”
For her efforts, Hannah was presented with a $1,000 scholarship for secondary education.
Hannah’s parents are Monte and Wendy Monsanto of Eubank.
For more information on the Kentucky Rural Electric Washington Youth Tour, visit www.skrecc.com .