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Taylor Smith Represents Washington state in Youth Leadership Council

Taylor Smith with the Washington state flag.

Some children born in rural communities choose to plant roots in their hometown. Others seek a “better life” in urban areas after high school.

Benton REA believes a better life can be had in both scenarios by investing in the rural community leaders of tomorrow.

Taylor Smith, daughter of Benton REA members Blake and Sheri Smith, is one of those leaders. She was selected among her peers of Washington Youth Tour students to represent her state on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Leadership Council (YLC).

Taylor attended the Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., in June 2018 with four other electric co-op youth delegates from Washington state. After being elected for the YLC, Taylor returned to D.C. for leadership training in July and attended the NRECA annual meeting in March.

Benton REA will send Michelle Bolling and Nathan Shibley on the 2019 Youth Tour from June 13 to 20. Michelle is the daughter of Benton REA member Stacey Bolling. Nathan is the son of Benton REA members Bill and Kim Shibley.

Applications for the 2020 trip will be available in the fall of 2019.

Reflections on the YLC – by Taylor Smith

At the annual meeting for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Orlando, Florida, I had the honor of representing Benton REA as the Washington state delegate on the Youth Leadership Council.

It was an amazing opportunity to interact with other youth, learn more about cooperatives, and represent Washington state. Cooperatives are a powerful business model that provide more than just electricity to its members. Rural electric cooperatives are crucial to our nation today and in the future.

The Youth Leadership Council advocates increased youth involvement in rural communities. With so much talent to offer by the rising generation, young leaders will keep our rural areas vibrant.

Being a representative on the Youth Leadership Council was a valuable experience. I opened the conference with other delegates in a parade of states. It was an honor to fly the Washington state flag. I am so thankful to Benton REA for this amazing opportunity.

(Orlando-FL) 2019 NRECA Annual Meeting. Opening Ceremony with Parade of flags and invocation.

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