It was quite a summer for four local high school students, thanks to York Electric Cooperative. Natalia Salas, Trevor Castro, Andy Goss, and Landon Davis took part in the Cooperative Youth Summit, a four-day journey of their state’s capital and the surrounding area that went beyond the traditional field trip.
Salas, Castro, Goss, and Davis joined 33 other high school students sponsored by South Carolina electric cooperatives on the unique experience. The students started their own cooperative, produced their own podcasts, and learned how government works.
The students visited Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, explored electric vehicles, and toured the State House, culminating with a visit inside the Governor’s office. The students also learned about legislative advocacy from S.C. state Rep. Kirkman Finlay and John Frick, vice president of government affairs for The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. Frick, referencing a quote from Benjamin Franklin, reminded the students that it will be up to them to “keep the republic.”
“That really helped put into perspective that we have to do something,” says Salas, a student at Westminster Catawba Christian School. “If we want things to change, we can’t just rely on the adults.”
The students also visited Newberry Electric Cooperative, where they heard stories of outages and saw the dangers of electricity. They were also lifted in the bucket of a boom truck.
“Providing electricity is difficult,” says Davis, a student at Fort Mill High School. “A lot of things can go wrong, but they have it under control.”
Cooperative Youth Summit students also had the unique opportunity to produce podcasts addressing the question, “Given the turbulence in our nation and around the globe, how can young people impact their local communities?” The students’ podcasts are available to listen to on our website.