It’s not often that writing a two-page essay leads to the trip of a lifetime. But for Britton Bina, the extra effort won him an all-expense-paid week in Washington, D.C. The junior at Park River Area High School was one of 1,700 students from around the country selected to participate in the 2016 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour held June 11-17. Bina had the opportunity to learn more about electric cooperatives, visit famous historical monuments and get to know fellow students from cooperatives across the country. Th e action-packed tour included visits to the Smithsonian, the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, the WW I, Vietnam and Korean War Veterans Memorials as well as the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and the Washington Monuments.
In addition to sightseeing, Bina and other North Dakotans on the tour had the chance to meet and ask questions of the North Dakota delegation. Nodak Electric Cooperative sponsored Bina, whose parents, Cameron and Estelle, are Nodak members. Bina’s winning essay was in response to this topic: Pick one of the four Touchstone Energy® core values – innovation, integrity, accountability and commitment to community – and describe how you see this in action at Nodak Electric Cooperative. Bina wrote about Nodak’s commitment to serving its members no matter the circumstances. He highlighted the efforts to bring power out to farms in the 1940s and the significant work necessary to restore electric service during storms. “Through rough times, the merging of companies and the harshest of weather, Nodak has and will continue to give people electricity when they need it,” Bina wrote. He also highlighted when the lights came on for the first time for his great grandfather. “Since my great grandfather flipped that switch many years ago, many amazing lights have shone bright, all because Nodak has the commitment to keep them shining bright,” Bina’s essay concluded.
The Youth Tour program continues to foster the grassroots spirit of the rural electric cooperatives by demonstrating to our youth how our government works and what the electric cooperative business model is all about. Since 1964, the nation’s electric cooperatives have sponsored about 50,000 high school students on education sessions in Washington, D.C. Nodak will be looking to sponsor another deserving student for the 2017 Youth Tour to be held June 10-16. For more information, check our this page. The essay deadline is Jan. 31, 2017.