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Youth Tour

A Special Invitation

to 11th grade students in the following schools:


Altus, Blair, Chillicothe, Crowell, Electra, Frederick, Harrold,

Northside, Navajo, Snyder, Tipton, and Vernon




SWRE Government in Action Youth Tour  


If you are an 11th grade student who lives in the SWRE service area or attends one of the schools listed above, you are invited to enter the 2017-2018 Government in Action Youth Tour Contest.

First prize is an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.


Top Prize: Youth Tour Trip!

The  Youth Tour is an annual week-long event in June during which more than 1,000 young people from throughout the nation travel to Washington, D.C.

The Youth Tour was inspired by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson as he addressed a national electric cooperative convention in 1957. “If one thing goes out of this meeting,” Johnson said, he hoped it would be “sending youngsters to the national capital where they can see what the flag represents.”

Beginning that year, Texas electric cooperatives sent young people to Washington to learn more about government in action. Over the next few years the idea spread over the country, and in 1964 many electric co-ops (including SWRE) began sending young people to Washington at the same time.

Today, students from all across the nation take part in the annual Youth Tour.

During the trip students follow an itenerary that includes a day on Capitol Hill observing the House and Senate in session, visits to members of Congress, a boat cruise on the Potomac, tours to monuments, and visits to the White House, Arlington Cemetery, and the Smithsonian. 

It is a trip of a lifetime. The essay topic and contest rules can be found below.



Each of eight contest finalists will receive a cash prize of $250.

Two students (one from Texas and one from Oklahoma) will be chosen as SWRE Youth Tour winners and will travel to Washington, D.C. in June with student delegations from their state.

Two runners-up (one from each state) will attend the 2019 Touchstone Youth Leadership Conference to be held in Oklahoma City in January 2019 where they will receive an additional $250 scholarship!


Contest Deadline

Deadline for submitting your 500-750 word essay is Saturday,  December 1, 2018.


2018-2019 Youth Tour Contest Rules


The SWRE Government in Action Youth Tour Contest is open to any high school junior (11thgrader) who lives or attends school in the SWRE service area. All essays that are submitted in the contest become the property of SWRE and will not be returned.



How to Enter

Write an original essay on the topic below. Essays should reflect individual thought and ideas.


NOTE: An essay is here defined as a “short composition on a single subject which presents the writer’s views on that subject in the form of a thesis and support for that thesis.”



Essay Topic and Due Date

 “Power for the Future”


Electricity powers our lives, our businesses, and our economy. It’s hard to imagine modern life without it.


The electricity that we use today is generated by a diverse mix of energy sources. These sources include coal, natural gas, solar, wind, water, and nuclear. Each of these energy sources has advantages and disadvantages. New energy sources are also being developed.


In your opinion, what is the best energy source (or mix of sources) for the future?Defend your answer. Describe the energy source and weigh the benefits and disadvantages. How will the continued development and use of that energy source affect our lives in the future?  Be creative and research up and coming or innovative new techniques as well. 



DUE DATE: Essays must be received in SWRE’s Tipton office no later than December 1, 2018.



Essay and Format

The essay must be original, of 500 to 750 words.


Preferred format is type-written, double-spaced, and on only one side of 8.5” x 11” plain white paper. Essays can be submitted online at the bottom of this page ( or mailed to SWRE Youth Tour at PO Box 310, Tipton, OK 73570.



NO NAME may appear on the body of the essay but must be included on an attached cover sheet (back page of this booklet) along with the other information indicated if the essay is printed and mailed tangibly.



Preliminary Judging

An independent judge will select potential finalists – half from Texas schools and half from Oklahoma.


Preliminary Judging Criteria

Command of Subject    40%

[Demonstrated understanding of the material presented, relevance of information, direct treatment of the subject.]

Thesis and Support    25%

[Recognizable thesis idea, solid support for viewpoint]

Style and Creativity    20%

[Originality of approach, appealing presentation]

Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling    15%

Final Judging

Finalists will compete in the contest finals. Potential finalists will be notified of their selection and invited to compete as finalists. SWRE will provide them with the time and location of the finals. The finals will consist of two parts: speech and questions.


Finals Presentation

At the finals, each contestant will be asked to present his or her essay as a very brief extemporaneous presentation. (Extemporaneous is here defined as a “presentation neither read nor memorized, but presented with few notes in the manner of an after-dinner presentation.) A panel of judges will rate each presenter. While no presenter will be disqualified because of time, each presenter will be given three to five minutes.  Presentations may include slideshows, video and props, although no additional presenters or participants may be incorporated into the presentation.  


Final Judging Criteria


Poise of Presentation    25%

Speaking Ability    50%

Appearance    10%

Following Contest Rules    15%

[Staying within the time limit, presenting extemporaneously]


Finals Questions

Following the presentation, the judges will ask each contestant two interview questions taken directly from the reference material that is provided in this registration packet. Criteria will be correctness of response and personal composure.


Breakdown of Final Judging


Presentation    70%

Questions    30%


The judges will then select the top score from each district (state) as the winners. In the case of a tie, the judges will select the winner.


Prizes Awarded

The top score in each sate (one from Texas and one from Oklahoma) will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the national Rural Electric Youth Tour. Trip dates and details will be provided.

Each participating finalist will each receive a $250 cash prize.



Click here to apply!




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