Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

Iowa Youth Tour 2019 News

2019 Iowa Youth Tour of Washington, D.C.
June 14-20, 2019 (Orientation the night of June 13)

What will we see in Washington, D.C.? What should I wear?
How much luggage can I take? How much money should I bring?

If you have additional questions, please contact me, Shelly York, at 800-798-7037, ext. 206, or cell: 515-321-4276.


Since we have morning flights to DC, we have opted to have an orientation the night before, June 13, at the Holiday Inn - Airport, 6111 Fleur Dr., Des Moines We will go over the week’s schedule, rules, etc. The parents are dismissed at 6:30 p.m. From there we will do some ice breaker games, and initiate the creations of the Snack Cooperative. Lights out at 10 p.m.!

Bring your luggage and put them in the back of the meeting room.

6 p.m.              Orientation

                        Snacks available

                        Discuss week’s schedule, rules, etc.

6:30 p.m.         Parents dismissed

                        Ice Breaker games

                        Creation of the Snack Cooperative

  • Interview and announce board members
  • Interview and announce cooperative manager

Join the Iowa Youth Tour Snack Cooperative – Membership fee: $1

10 p.m.            Lights out – final room check

Remember to bring your driver's license or other government-issued photo identification with you. Airlines will not allow you on an airplane without a photo I.D.

Also at orientation … Did you know?? One of the Cooperative Principles is Commitment to Community. And, in a small way we are going to practice that during our Youth Tour Orientation on June 7. Iowa Youth Tour is partnering with the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, and we get to send note of appreciation to some of our very own heroes.

Each Veteran on their way home from their Honor Flight gets a large envelope filled with letters written to them by family, school children and members of the community, both young and old. Many tears have been witnessed on the plane ride home when the Veterans receive their letters and see that people have taken the time to write them a personal letter.

I’m excited to be part of this project … hope you are too!


We have partnered with Grupio to provide a free app for Iowa Youth Tour participants. You can download the mobile app and access information about our event from the convenience of your phone. Access the schedule, speakers, cooperative/sponsor lists, etc.

iPhone - Search for Grupio in the App Store

Android - Search for Grupio in the Android Market

Once you have the app downloaded you can search for “Iowa Youth Tour” from the menu. If it requires you to put in a password, use “iowaytdc19”


During Iowa Youth Tour 2019 the students will be forming and running their own cooperative, which will provide snacks for Iowa’s Youth Tour participants. This project is educational, practical and accomplishes two things. First, it provides snacks at reasonable prices and second, it teaches everyone about starting and operating a cooperative and being a co-op “member owner.”

The co-op will be very similar to electric cooperatives or other local member-owned cooperatives, but on a much smaller scale. The main difference is that this co-op will provide snacks for the members (Youth Tour students and chaperones) while on the trip.

After the farewell event on the Wednesday of Youth Tour, the co-op board and manager will plan, develop and hold an “annual meeting,” at which time they will report to the members on the co-op’s operations during the week in Washington. At that point, the board will declare an end to operations and move to officially dissolve the co-op. If there are any “margins,” or funds remaining after operations are closed, the board will then consider a method of returning these margins to the members through a form of “capital credits/patronage.”

ALL STUDENTS: BY JUNE 1 - Please go to this link and rank your interest in each of the Snack Cooperative position >

And, here's your chance to let the snack cooperative know what you'd like them to keep in their inventory > 


We’d like all student (and parents too!) to take a minute and watch this presentation. We are passionate about the cooperative business model and we want to share our enthusiasm with you, so we put this short Prezi together.

Students! You never know, there might be a prize for those that can answer some co-op questions while we are touring around DC!

Please watch!


Bring your luggage with you to the meeting room when you come for the orientation.

Bring one bag (less than 50 pounds) to be checked by the airline. You luggage outside dimension when added all together (length + height + width) may not exceed 62 inches. In addition you can carry on one small bag such as a book bag, purse or camera bag. No scissors, pocketknives, nail files or nail clippers are allowed with you on the plane.

The following rules apply to all liquids, gels and aerosols you want to carry through a security checkpoint.

  1. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.

  2. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon-size bags or bags that are not zip-top (such as fold-over sandwich bags) are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.

  3. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow Transportation Security Administration security officers to more easily examine the declared items.

Also, please take a few minutes to read the Transportation Security Administration’s prohibited items website before you pack for the trip.

Federal inspection rules are in effect at all airports. You will be asked to remove any coats, jackets and your shoes. We suggest you pack belts with metal buckles in your checked baggage since they may set off metal detectors and hold up the security process. Regulations require name and address tags on the outside of all checked luggage.

Due to the security screening machines for checked baggage, exposed film can be ruined. On the return trip, if you are carrying rolls of film, put them in a camera case, book bag or purse, not your checked luggage.


We are scheduled to arrive in Des Moines at 11:25 a.m. on June. 20 (Southwest flight 2382).

Flight numbers and times subject to change by the airline.

The baggage claim area at the Des Moines International Airport is in the south end of the terminal building. Your parents/guardians or cooperative representatives can meet you in the baggage area or in the concourse before the security checkpoint. Short-term parking is available in the parking ramp in front of the terminal building


Shelly York, a 30+-year employee at the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, is the tour director and lead chaperone. She is an old hand at youth trips. This is her 10th Youth Tour. Cell phone: 515-321-4276.

Haley Moon, this is her second Youth Tour. Haley is the Advocacy Coordinator at the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. Cell phone: 712-320-0503

Darren "DJ" Johnson, works at Prairie Energy Cooperative in the Member Service area. This is his second Youth Tour. Cell phone: 515-293-1900. DJ's wife, Jody, will also be along for the trip.

Zach Morgan, serves as the CFO at United Electric Cooperative. Cell phone:

Clayton Merritt, is the 2019 Iowa Youth Tour Intern. Clayton first went to Washington, D.C., as a student in 2012 and was sponsored by Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative. Clayton is a registered nurse at Wayne County Hospital and is currently a graduate student at Graceland University pursuing his Master of Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Degree. After graduation, he plans to work in an economically underserved area as a nurse. Cell phone: 641-895-4790

All adults have had background checks run to ensure that we are providing the highest quality program we can.


We will be traveling by chartered bus while in Washington, D.C. Our bus driver is Rob Taylor. He has been Iowa’s bus driver for Youth Tour for several years. Rob’s day job is being a Maryland state trooper – he takes a week off from that to be our driver.  


            Hyatt Regency Crystal City

            2799 Jefferson Davis Highway

            Arlington, VA 22202

You will be sharing a room with at least one other Iowa student. There is a hair dryer, iron and ironing board and refrigerators in each room.

We will not be the only guests at the hotel, so remember to be courteous. Try not to congregate near the escalators – it causes a big traffic jam!


The Hyatt Regency Crystal City phone number is 703-418-1234. The switchboard could be quite busy, and we are out of the hotel during the day and most of every evening. Remember, there is a time difference between Iowa and Washington, D.C.

Taking your cell phone is allowed (and encouraged), but out of respect for others around you, talking on your cell phone is prohibited during scheduled tour activities at memorials, monuments and other attractions. Shelly’s cell phone number is 515-321-4276. Please provide it to your parent(s) or guardian(s) and advise them to use it to call her in an emergency or if they are unable to reach you on your cell phone.


We use an app to communicate while din DC. It’s called Remind. Please take a minute and download it. Many schools use their same app, so you may already have it on your phone.


Facebook: We have a 2019 Iowa Youth Tour group on Facebook ( If you are on Facebook and not yet in the group, send me a friend request ( and I will add you. Parents/guardians are MORE THAN WELCOME to be members of our Facebook group.

Be sure and “like” the Iowa Youth Tour Facebook page. We’ll post all of the photos we take on that page. Tell your friends and family to like the page also!

Twitter: We will be tweeting while in D.C. Our handle is @IowaYouthTour

Instagram: iowayouthtour

Snapchat: iowayouthtour

Blog: We have started a blog for the Iowa Youth Tour program. The address is I will be blogging in the days leading up to the trip and during it. If you would like to be a blogger for the day, just let me know! Be sure and share the blog address with your friends and family so they can track your Youth Tour adventures.

Safety is our top priority!

There are adult chaperones with you on the trip, and our top priority is to ensure your safety, so please remember that your cooperation with our direction at all times is a must.

You will be representing Iowa’s electric cooperatives, and the students who’ve come before you have set a high standard of behavior. Students who come after you will appreciate you upholding the proud tradition that’s been established.

Breaking the following rules is considered cause for sending you home on the next available airline flight back to Des Moines:

  • Smoking, using other tobacco, consuming alcoholic beverages or other drugs is strictly prohibited.

  • You must remain at the hotel at all times except when you are participating in the planned activities of our group.

  • Leaving the hotel to visit relatives or friends in the area is prohibited.

  • You are not to be out of your assigned room after curfew.

If a student is sent home, his or her parents, not the electric cooperative the student is representing, will be billed for the cost of the entire trip.

If a security event happens on Youth Tour, students should follow the chaperone/police/authority’s directions and if possible return to the planned pickup location as soon as possible. If they are not able to get there, then they should return to the hotel by whatever means possible. Notify chaperones as to your whereabout immediately. Iowa Youth Tour will use the group text messaging system to communicate out, and students have all the chaperone’s phone numbers. Once we determine the threat status, if none of our group was affected or the attack was a single-action event and contained, we will adjust the schedule and stay in D.C. Remember to be aware of your surroundings. Student should have a general idea of how to get back to the bus. We ask the students that if their “spidey sense” goes off, pay attention to it. If they see something that looks not right, say something.


Your meals, lodging, travel, admissions and other necessary expenses are included in the cost of the tour.

A large amount of additional money is not advised. If you want souvenirs, cards and stamps or extra snacks, bring your own spending money for these items. 


Bring the toiletries, cosmetics and medication you need.

You also should include some stamps if you want to send post cards, a couple of pencils or pens and any personal-comfort items. If you wear or need glasses, we suggest you bring an extra pair. If you wear contacts, bring an extra set or a pair of glasses in case you lose a contact. You might want to bring sunglasses and sunscreen as well. Wear your watch and pack a small umbrella if you have one. We do provide a rain poncho. If you are taking prescription medication on a regular basis, make certain you have enough for the trip.


Since you are representing Iowa and Iowa’s electric cooperatives, it is important to be dressed in a tasteful and appropriate manner. Students and chaperones will be provided a Youth Tour shirt to wear each day while we are in DC. Wear with nice and appropriate jeans, nice shorts (with an inseam of 5” or longer), capris or skirts.

What not to wear: on travel days bare midriffs, low-cut tops, very low-rise skirts/dresses, short shorts, frayed/torn cut-offs, skimpy tank tops, tube tops, muscle shirts, droopy drawers, clothing with political (Iowa Youth Tour is a nonpolitical event) or suggestive and/or inappropriate printing (including alcohol or cigarette branding) are not allowed.

For evening events: bring a jacket or sweater in the event it gets cool.

Good, comfortable walking shoes are very important. Flip flops are allowed, however not always sturdy enough for a walking day on Youth Tour.

On Wednesday we will be visiting the U.S. Capitol and meeting with Iowa’s congressional delegation and we will all have nice matching polos. Please wear khaki pants, skirt, nice (not short-short) shorts or capris.

The weather in June in Washington, D.C. can be hot and humid. It also can be cool in the evening, so pack a light jacket or sweater.

If there is any confusion as to if something is appropriate or not, the Youth Tour Director has the final say. 


I cannot emphasize enough the need for good shoes on Youth Tour!! We will be doing a lot of walking (6-10 miles a day), so bring comfortable shoes. Flip-flops are allowed on the tour, but just know we do a lot of walking and Washington, D.C. is a hilly city. Strappy sandals, however cute, can be a great source of blisters.

Sneakers and socks, Keens or other footwear designed for a lot of walking around are strongly recommended for the heavy walking days. I’m personally a fan of Chaco outdoor sandals. Saying all that, we will have a supply of bandages with us just in case a blister or two develop.

Having done Youth Tour for several years, I (Shelly) generally have a pair of sneakers, flip flops and/or sandals with me each day. I switch shoes throughout the day, which I have found really (REALLY!) helps.

If you are not naturally active, I would also encourage you to get into the habit of walking prior to Youth Tour.


Yes, you will have a curfew.

We all will need our sleep for the long days of touring, and we understand that your parents or guardians expect you to be safely in your rooms. The curfew is listed on your schedule. The chaperones will do a room check every night to be certain everyone is in his or her assigned room.



Boys rooms = blue

Girls rooms = pink

There are NO purple rooms. Meaning, boys are NOT allowed in the girls’ rooms, and girls are NOT allowed in the boys’ rooms! Period.


In this post 9/11 world with heightened security, you will go through a security screening process that is similar to the screening process for traveling on an airplane when visiting the U.S. Capitol, congressional office buildings, the Holocaust Museum, Smithsonian museums and other buildings we visit. If or when the screening process seems quite time-consuming, please remember that it is for the safety and security of everyone in each building: you, other visitors, government employees and elected officials.  

Word to the wise: goofing off in any security line is frowned on. It slows down the process and just irritates the security guards – something we don’t want to do! And, if you don't need your bag, don't take it. It just slows things down too!


All Capitol Visitors

Capitol, including Capitol Visitor Center

House / Senate Galleries

Aerosol Containers



Any battery-operated electronic device



Medical devices are permitted.

Any pointed object (knitting needles, letter openers, etc.)



Pens and pencils are permitted

Any bag larger than 14" wide x 13" high x 4" deep





(both in and out of session)

Cans and bottles, full or empty



Creams, lotions, or perfumes


(both in and out of session)

Electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices



Food or beverages of any kind



Guns, replica guns, ammunition, and fireworks



Knives of any size



Mace and pepper spray



Non-aerosol spray



Prescriptions for medical needs are permitted.

Razors and box cutters






Video recorders or any type of recording device



* indicates items that may be checked at the House and Senate Gallery Staging Areas.



This year we were able to schedule a run with Senator Grassley on June 19 at 4:15 a.m. (YES, a.m. – he’s an early bird!) Senator Grassley enjoys running (well, it’s more like a jog with some walking) and has been very gracious to run with Youth Tour students for the last few years.  He’ll run at the front of the pack and he likes students to rotate up and talk with him. Be prepared with a question or two for him.

We have some shirts for all the runners to wear – everyone in the same shirt just makes for a good picture. We also have a green shirt for Senator Grassley.

The Grassleys live near the hotel, and some of the chaperones will take the students (via the hotel shuttle) to their residents where they’ll meet Senator Grassley and simply run three miles (he runs at about a 10 minute/mile pace). Of course, we’ll get pictures!!


We get to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns during our visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Four students (two males; two females) will be able to participate in the wreath laying ceremony; however we will all be there to observe it.

Thank you for everyone that expressed interest participating in the ceremony. We carefully read all the applicants and ultitatly, Who gets to participate in the wreath laying ceremony? 

Ellie Smith

Sabrina Leistikow

Jack Chism

Jacob Ludeking


DO WE ATTEND CHURCH ON SUNDAY OF YOUTH TOUR?                                                              

We do not attend a church service during Youth Tour. However, we do take a tour of the National Cathedral, and if time permits, students can visit one of the chapels for a time of reflection/devotion.


All week, you will meet Youth Tour participants from other states and exchange a variety of things such as stickers, pins and necklaces. You’ll get Iowa corn pins and corn necklaces to share with your new friends from other states. Corn necklaces have historically been a huge hit during Youth Tour! So, don’t give them all away on your first day – they’re valuable!

WHAT IS IN YOUR BAG?                                                                                                                    

Each of you will get a back bag. It will include a water bottle, rain poncho, cell phone charger, portable fan, chapstick and your stuff to trade. We will ship all the bags to the hotel we are staying at, so we don’t have to carry them on the plane. Once we get to the hotel, we’ll go to the Youth Tour Office and get our boxes and distribute the bags.

YOUTH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL                                                                                                          

During Youth Tour, one Iowa participant will be chosen to serve on the national Youth Leadership Council (YLC). This person will join approximately 40 other participants from across the country in Washington, D.C. July 13-17, 2019, for leadership training. The Iowa representative will also attend the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Feb. 28 - March 4 (Shelly travels with the student to the national meeting).

The council is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Members promote youth activities and help NRECA with numerous events.

The Iowa Youth Tour director and chaperones will interview all Youth Leadership Council candidates on Saturday night and announce their selection Sunday morning. That person will have a chance to get acquainted with other council representatives from other states on Sunday night.

The Iowa YLC representative also receives a $1,000 college scholarship from the Electric Cooperatives Pioneers Trust.

More details: 

WHAT IS A “BLUE SHIRT”?                                                                                                                  

A few former Youth Leadership Council members apply to serve as staff assistance during Youth Tour. They are commonly referred to as “blue shirts” because they wear blue shirts. Most of them are either juniors or seniors in college. They work for NRECA (the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) and are considered chaperones also.

You will also see some people walking around in green polo shirts. They are staff members from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.


You were selected by your sponsoring electric cooperative to join the 2019 Iowa Electric Cooperatives’ Youth Tour of Washington, D.C. because you have measured up to the highest standards of leadership and good behavior. You will be representing Iowa’s electric cooperatives, and the students who’ve come before you have set a high standard of behavior. Students who come after you will appreciate you upholding the proud tradition that’s been established.

Students representing Iowa’s electric cooperatives are expected to have a high standard of behavior, and these rules will be communicated to, and followed by all participants.

1. Safety is our number one priority. You must stay in groups of at least three.

2. Be punctual. We have a very busy schedule and don’t want to hold buses or delay our schedule if we don’t have to.

3. Participate in all planned activities. You will not be allowed to leave the group at any time.

4. Wear your name tag at all times.

5. Talking on your cell phone or texting is discouraged during scheduled tour activities, at memorials, monuments and other attractions.

6. You must be in your hotel room at the time designated by the tour director or chaperones. You are not to leave your room after this hour except with special permission of a chaperone. Room checks will be made each night, and wake-up calls will be provided each morning.

7. You will share a room with other Youth Tour participants and will be expected to respect the rights of others. After curfew, you will be expected to stay in your room, be ready for bed and reasonably quiet so others may sleep. You will not be allowed to visit other rooms or have visitors in your room after curfew.

8. You must remain at the hotel at all times except when you are participating in planned activities. You will not be allowed to leave the hotel to visit relatives or friends in the area, go shopping or attend other events individually.

9. Smoking, vaping or using other tobacco products, consuming alcoholic beverages or using other drugs is prohibited.

10. Due to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, there is a heightened sense of security in Washington, D.C. You will be required to observe all security rules and govern yourself accordingly.

11. Infraction of these rules governing your conduct will be considered cause for terminating your participation. You will be sent home at your family’s expense.


Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, personal texting, and others, are powerful tools of communication that can have significant impact on your personal reputation as well as the reputations of the cooperative you are representing, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperative (IAEC) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Your parent/guardian and you must read and sign this contract acknowledging personal responsibility to use social media responsibly as a cooperative representative, and a representative of IAEC on the NRECA Youth Tour. Please adhere to the following rules and guidelines when posting on Social Media sites while on Youth Tour or thereafter concerning Youth Tour.

  • Think twice before posting. Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Even if you think the information will disappear after a few hours, an image, with your name attached, can last a lifetime. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect on your reputation, the reputation of your family and friends, the reputation of your cooperative, IAEC and NRECA. Moreover, the information you place online could jeopardize your future when applying to college or for a job for years after YouthTour.

  • Always be authentic. Be honest about your identity. If you post personally or use a Youth Tour hashtag, make sure you are being a positive representative of your cooperative, IAEC and NRECA YouthTour.

  • When posting on social media while on Youth Tour, you will not be disrespectful, disingenuous, inappropriate oroffensive.

  • Never pretend to be someone else when you post personally or as a Youth Tour representative.

  • Be respectful and thoughtful. Youth Tour participants are committed to showing respect and dignity for all people and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Treat others the way you would like them to treat you on social mediasites.

  • Know the rules. Become familiar with the terms of service and policies of the social media sites and networks in which you participate, and the appropriate code of ethics required for responsible onlinecommunications.

  • If you have a question about something you want to post, please ask a chaperone. Students who engage in inappropriate use of social media sites, including electronic text, may be required to remove all posts in question from social media sites, be required to show chaperones their social media sites when asked or be sent home at the expense of their parent(s), or be subject to any other actions that may be appropriate or required based on the circumstances.

These guidelines and rules are non-negotiable and the consequences are dependent on the degree of misuse of social media.


The Living with Energy in Iowa magazine will publish photos and student quotes in the July edition on the magazine. Toward the end of the trip, I will ask for quotes about Youth Tour for the editor to publish. If he chooses your quote, it’s $25 in your pocket! 


  • Keep hydrated! We will have water available. We keep a couple coolers on the bus full of cold water, and will be pushing you to drink water all day, every day.

  • Arrive well rested and be prepared to WALK! The average day goes from about 7 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. Yes, this is a long day, and you will be on the go a lot, however, no one ever wishes they had slept more during Youth Tour.

  • If you don’t feel well, tell a chaperone. There are two nurses on call 24-hours a day during Youth Tour.

  • Wear comfortable shoes – we cannot say this enough!

  • All students will get assigned a number. All you have to do is remember your number (it is listed in our app). Each time we leave someplace we count off.  Never left anyone behind … don’t plan to this year either!

If you have ANY questions at all, please contact Shelly York at

Iowa's locally owned electric cooperatives are committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable & environmentally responsible power to 650,000 Iowans.

© 2021 IAEC. All rights reserved.