NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Washington Youth Tour amid concerns over COVID-19. The event presented by the state’s consumer-owned electric cooperatives takes more than 130 high school juniors from across the state to Washington, D.C., each summer to learn about history, leadership and public policy.
“We are heartbroken to make this announcement, but the health, safety and well-being of our delegates are our primary concerns,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member services and Tennessee’s Washington Youth Tour director. “Youth Tour includes visits to the most historically significant and meaningful places in our nation. With large crowds common, TECA is unable to fully protect students from exposure. This creates a risk we are simply not willing to take.”
“This is a difficult decision because the Washington Youth Tour is a unique opportunity for young leaders across our state,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of TECA. “Each year, the tour impacts the lives of young people for the better. We are mourning the connections that will not be formed, the opportunities that will not be realized and the memories that will not be made.”
In lieu of the trip, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are currently evaluating options to recognize and honor this year’s winners.