The 2021 Youth Tour and CYCLE contest has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Southwest Electric Cooperative is proud to be one of the many electric cooperatives in Missouri and around the nation to sponsor an essay & interview contest to select two high school juniors for the annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. These fortunate students represent SWEC, along with more than 100 other students from around Missouri, on an all-expense paid tour of our nation's capital. They tour historic buildings, museums, visit America's most cherished monuments, and even meet their elected officials; all while learning about electric cooperatives and their role in our communities.


The 2019 Youth Tour winners were Kaylee Lower, Weableau High School and Megan Hamm, Marion C Early High School; pictured below.

2020 Youth Tour trip to Washington D.C. is canceled  

2020 CYCLE trip to Jefferson City, Missouri is canceled

Contest Rules

Deadline to submit an essay - has passed.

Eligibility - This contest is open to any current high school Junior residing or attending school within SWEC's service territory. Parents of the student do not have to be a member of SWEC. Please complete the Youth Tour cover letter and submit with your essay: Click here for the cover letter.

2020 Essay Topic - Tell us something you're passionate about! The founding members of SWEC were passionate about bringing electricity to our rural areas when no one else would. Tell us what you're passionate about and why - have fun with it! To earn some extra credit include a short discussion on the history of SWEC and how being a member of an electric cooperative is different from being a customer of other types of electric utilities.

Essay Requirements  - Each contestant should write and submit a typewritten, 500-1,000 word, essay on the topic listed above.

Finalist Judging & Interviews - Essays are read by impartial judges who base the judging on knowledge of the subject, originality, grammar and neatness. The top 10 semi-finalists will advance to the interview phase of the contest. These semi-finalists will interview with a panel of three judges who will determine two winners for the Youth Tour trip and two winners for the CYCLE trip.

Submit your cover letter and essay you may email, mail or drop it by:

Nick Seiner, Youth Tour coordinator
PO Box 150 | 1023 S Springfield Ave
Bolivar, MO 65613
417-326-5244 or email
Youth Tour videos:

2019 Youth Tour Video

2018 Youth Tour Video

2017 Youth Tour Video

Youth Tour Resources

Need help with your essay? Check out these Youth Tour resources. 

America's Electric Cooperatives represent nearly 1,000 electric cooperatives nationwide and sponsors the Youth Tour program nationwide.

Members First looks at how Southwest views our members and what benefits there are to being a member.

The Rural Utilites Service replaced the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Electrification Administration.

Associated Electric Cooperative in Springfield, Missouri is the power supplier for Southwest Electric Cooperative.

The National Cooperative Business Association is a national trade association representing cooperatives.

The Electric Power Research Institute is a scientific and research organization funded in part by America's rural electric cooperatives.


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