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SCEC accepting applications for 2018 Youth Leadership Congress attendees

Laura Dawn Lane (right) talks to a fellow Youth Leadership Congress attendee in the event’s opening ice breaker session. Nearly 130 high school students from across Wisconsin converge at UWRF for the event. Submitted photo

Each summer, St. Croix Electric Cooperative demonstrates the fifth Cooperative Principle: Education, Training and Information by sponsoring six SCEC members' dependents who are entering grades 10 through 12 at the WECA Youth Leadership Congress, which will be held Wednesday—Friday, July 25-27.

A key component of Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association's educational programming for young people, the three-day Youth Leadership Congress has been held at University of Wisconsin-River Falls each summer since 1963. Last year's Congress attracted more than 122 students sponsored by 17 cooperatives, including six from SCEC. Activities focus on maximizing leadership potential, understanding cooperatives and co-op governance — the students organize and operate a functioning cooperative during the event — effective communication, and turning mistakes into stepping stones for success.

Dependents of SCEC members who are entering grades 10 through 12 in Fall 2018 are eligible to apply. SCEC covers all expenses for six students to attend the event with an employee chaperone.

Last year's attendees included Lilly Kobs, Maddie Kobs and KayLee Lokker, all of Baldwin; Laura Dawn Lane of Hudson, Claire Wulf of River Falls and Talissa Chapin of Woodville.

To apply, visit and find Youth Leadership Congress under the Community dropdown menu, email to request an application or call Communications & Events Coordinator Michele DeLong at 715-796-5613. Applications will be accepted until all spots are filled or through Wednesday, June 20.

Participating students elect a six-member WECA Youth Board who will help plan the following year's Leadership Congress, have the opportunity to attend the NRECA Youth Tour, and visit the WECA offices and State Capitol legislative offices. A feature of the Youth Congress is the annual WECA Essay Contest. In 2017, more than 30 students, writing on co-op oriented subjects, competed for three scholarships of $,1000, $500 and $250, redeemable at any accredited post-secondary educational institution in the U.S.

The event offers a head start in understanding cooperative business principles for the upcoming generation of co-op leaders.

For more information, visit; or follow them on social media at @StCroixElecCoop (Twitter) and St. Croix Electric Cooperative (Facebook).