Local high-schoolers EmmaLynn Vandyke and Ollie Myrick were in Nashville March 3-6 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. The juniors were chosen by school guidance counselors and sponsored by Forked Deer Electric Cooperative. Delegates to the annual event receive a hands-on look at state government, learn networking and leadership skills and develop a better understanding of their local electric cooperatives.
While in Nashville, the students visited the State Capitol Building where they were welcomed by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Summit attendees also held a mock session in the Senate Chambers, debating and voting on a bill they developed.
In addition to lawmakers, students also heard from Tennessee leaders like Miss Tennessee 2018 Christine Williamson; Adam Hammond, anchor for Nashville’s News Channel 5; and trooper Jeffrey Buchanan and K-9 Major with the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail. The Youth Leadership Summit also included tours of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Murfreesboro and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Gallatin Steam Plant.
Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders in their hometowns and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee. “Local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors chose these deserving students to attend the summit based on their interests in government and strong leadership abilities,” says Todd Blocker, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association vice president of member relations and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “They will be the next generation of leaders in rural Tennessee, and we want to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they will face.”
“These students will soon be our community leaders — and electric cooperative member-owners,” says FDEC General Manager Jeff Newman. “We want them to share our passion for rural West Tennessee, so it is an honor for FDEC to help prepare them for the opportunities that are ahead. The future of our rural communities depends on a new generation of strong leaders like these.”