Winners will explore our nation’s capital during a six-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Electric Co-op Creative Writing and Scholarship Competition
Before you lies a unique opportunity. Winners of the Electric Cooperative Creative Writing Contest qualify for thousands of dollars in scholarships and have a chance to network with other young leaders from across the nation.
More than 6,000 high school juniors from across Tennessee have participated in the Electric Cooperative Creative Writing Contest.
This website will tell you more about the opportunities, let you hear from previous delegates and outline the requirements and resources to help you write the best short story. It will also tell you a little bit more about electric cooperatives and the reasons they have provided this opportunity to students for more than 50 years.
“Never in my life did I imagine that writing this short story would impact my life this much. I saw so many things, many of them once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Youth Tour has changed my life for the better, all because of a 900-word short story.”
“I didn’t think 900 words could change my life THAT much, but it did. I got to see my nation’s capital, make friends, eat some great mac and cheese and learn so much more than what my textbooks at school have to offer.”
“The Youth Tour was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime! It’s the best trip I’ve ever been on, and I can’t wait to go back to D.C. It was almost all of the capital in one week, and I’m so thankful to have gone.”
“They say pictures are worth 1,000 words, but who knew my 900-word short story could be worth thousands of laughs, memories and lifelong friendships?”
$10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship
$3,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarship
$2,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarship
$1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarship
Where can youth tour take you? Former Youth Tour delegate Joey Smith discusses his youth tour experience and how it shaped his impressive career.
Rules and Resources
This Year’s Topic
The energy provided by electric co-ops has far-reaching impacts on Tennessee. Write a short story explaining how electric co-ops are “Building a Brighter Tennessee” through investments in energy, education, broadband, economic development and more.
There are a few rules you need to follow:
- Only juniors in high school are eligible to participate.
- Every short story must be titled “Building a Brighter Tennessee.”
- Submissions must not exceed 900 words, including articles (“a,” “an” and “the”). The exact word count must be included on your cover page. Entries must be typewritten and double-spaced.
Remember, you’re writing a short story, which gives you more creative freedom than the rigid guidelines of an essay. Your story should be an entertaining, informative description of electric cooperatives.
50% – Appropriate treatment of theme and knowledge of subject To gain full credit in this category, you’ll have to effectively weave the information relating to the theme throughout the short story. Judges will see indications of additional research, a grasp of what information is vital to making your story believable and credible and creative ways of presenting that information.
35% – Originality and Creativity Use a different, entertaining, effective way of presenting information that will educate a reader and get your points across.
15% – Grammar and Composition If you need an explanation here, check your English textbook.
Checklist for Success
The tips below can help you get one step closer to winning. Use these suggestions to make your story stand out.
Characters, time and place
Spend some time to develop the characters, location and time frame of your story.
Include at least three specific examples of the many ways that co-ops connect their communities. The expansion of broadband, availability of reliable energy, efforts to recruit new businesses and jobs and young leadership development for young people are just a few examples.
Include one (or more) co-op principles
The seven principles of electric co-ops are listed here. Include these in your story to demonstrate your understanding of the many things that make electric co-ops unique.
Looking for real examples of how co-ops are “Building a Brighter Tennessee?” Check out these recent news stories.
Electric co-ops have utilized technology to operate efficiently and keep rates low.
Learn about how electric cooperatives are improving lives in the communities we serve.
Electric cooperatives were born when neighbors banded together to solve a problem.
Tennessee’s electric cooperatives provide power to more than 1.1 million homes, farms and businesses across rural and suburban Tennessee. Unlike other businesses, electric cooperatives are owned by the consumers they serve and operate as not-for-profit businesses. This may not sound important, but it means that consumers are the priority. Rates are kept low because there are no stockholders to pay, and the co-op is responsive to members because they vote on co-op leadership.
In the 1930s, there was no power in rural Tennessee. Homeowners and farmers came together to create co-ops that would bring power to their homes.
Today, co-ops are modern businesses that use technology to efficiently operate a large, advanced grid. Despite these changes, the primary goal of co-ops have not changed: provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to our neighbors, the very people who own the co-op.
Because of their local ties, co-ops are committed to improving lives in their communities. Going beyond simply keeping the lights on, co-ops recruit businesses and investment, help members operate their homes and businesses more efficiently and prepare students to be tomorrow’s leaders.