Co-op News

Co-op Youth Leaders Visit NRECA

By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: July 24th, 2013

Some of the young people who took part in NRECA’s 49th annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour came back to the National-Capital region to learn more about cooperatives.

Members of NRECA’s 2013 Youth Leadership Council met with Pat Gioffre, an NRECA executive vice president, in Arlington, Va. (Photo By: Derrill Holly)

Members of NRECA’s 2013 Youth Leadership Council met with Pat Gioffre, an NRECA executive vice president, in Arlington, Va. (Photo By: Derrill Holly)

The 42 young consumer-members representing their home states on NRECA’s 2013 Youth Leadership Council returned July 19 for a week of training and team-building exercises to prepare them for several service assignments in the year ahead.

NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson dropped in on the young people at their hotel in Arlington, Va., July 20.

“Great time meeting the Youth Leadership Council students tonight,” she later wrote in a posting on her personal Facebook page.

View photo gallery: Youth Leadership Council

“Spending time with these young people made me really excited about the future,” Emerson told “We talked about the important responsibilities that come with leadership, and I told them how proud I was that they are participating in this cooperative program.”

YLC delegates often speak at electric cooperative events in their home states, or help with registrations or membership projects at community events, said Steve Uram, an NRECA grassroots senior advisor. “They will also perform some very important support services at NRECA’s annual meeting in Nashville next year.”

As coordinator of NRECA’s youth programs, Uram uses the week to give the new YLC members more exposure to NRECA’s programs. The youth also learn about co-op sister organizations that help serve co-op consumer-members in their home states.

“YLC members will be spending time with representatives from the National Rural Utilities Finance Cooperative where they will learn about the import role CFC programs play in financing projects undertaken by their cooperatives,” said Uram.

The young men and women spent the day at NRECA headquarters July 22, where they heard from several senior managers who discussed the roles electric co-ops play in their communities and throughout the world.

“We help 42 million people in the United States get affordable, reliable electricity,” Pat Gioffre, NRECA’s executive vice president for finance and administration, told YLC members during a morning briefing in the executive offices.

“We’ve helped 110 million people in developing countries get electricity through NRECA International Programs,” Gioffre added. “We’ve been in 65 different countries helping these folks get electricity.”

Later in the day, the youth heard from representatives of NRECA’s government relations unit and Touchstone Energy®.

“Members of NRECA’s Youth Leadership Council already know a lot about their co-ops and what they do to help keep the lights on in their communities,” said Uram. “By the time they head home, they’ll know more about the roles electric cooperatives play in economic development in their communities and throughout the world.”

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