The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives celebrates 60 years of sending high school students to the nation’s capital this year as they announce that 36 Iowa high school students will attend the 2018 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour from June 8-14 this summer in Washington, D.C.

“Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students from Iowa, and we’re proud to send 36 of our best and brightest to Washington, D.C., this year to participate,” said Steve Marlow, CEO of East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative. “These students will gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process, visit our Capitol’s museums and monuments, learn about advocating on behalf of their community and make connections that will last a lifetime. Our youth are our future, and we can give them the tools to succeed in advocacy, government and public service. We look forward to this year’s trip and continuing to be a sponsor of the Youth Tour tradition for another 60 years.”

Additionally, the Youth Tour students will participate in leadership training, engage in one-on-one conversations with elected officials, jumpstart their national peer network and learn more about electric cooperatives.


Iowa’s Youth Tour participants hail from all corners of the state, including two high school juniors from ECI REC’s service area. This year Brock Ortner and Sarah Collison will be representing ECI REC, visiting historical sites, spend a day on Capitol Hill, meet congressional leaders, and more.

Brock Ortner attends Vinton-Shellsburg High School and is the son Michael and Laurie Ann Ortner of Shellsburg. Brock is a member of the National Honor Society and some of his school activities include participating in five honor bands, jazz band, football, soccer, and FFA, where he has been awarded Outstanding FFA Member for his grade. Activities outside of school include 4-H, church youth group, Operation Backpack, an annual bingo fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. Brock also operates a small of herd of cattle.

Sarah Collison attends East Buchanan High School and is the daughter of Ronald and Pamela Collison of Rowley. Sarah is a National Honor Society member and her school activities include concert and jazz band, concert and chamber choir, large group speech, FFA, softball, basketball, volleyball, and golf. Activities outside of school include 4-H, church youth group, Lady Bucs Club volleyball, and volunteering at the concession stands during the Rowley Days celebrations.

Iowa’s electric cooperatives have sponsored high school students on this trip since 1958. Students apply and are selected for this program by their local electric cooperative. Nearly 50,000 students have participated in the national Youth Tour program since its creation. For more information, visit