Employees at Ravalli Electric Co-op (REC) recently made a surprise visit to Stevensville High School to congratulate senior Jackqueline Westman on winning the Ravalli Electric Co-op’s Youth Tour to Washington D.C. Contest.

Every year the co-op holds a contest for one lucky high school student to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C.

Westman was selected from several Bitterroot Valley student submissions for her impressive portfolio of school and community involvement and essay about honoring veterans.

In June, hundreds of electric co-ops across the country send participants to D.C. for a chance to learn about the cooperative business model and a full week of sightseeing. Participants will also have the chance to meet with their elected officials and discuss the issues that are important back home.

Ravalli Electric Co-op feels it is important to invest in the youth of our community by providing opportunities like these. Students have repeatedly shared that this experience has helped them grow into successful professionals.

“Youth Tour participants return home with a deeper understanding and skillset of what it takes to be leader, and as a result, they put these skills to use right here in our community,” said REC Communications Specialist, Melissa Greenwood. “Youth Tour has grown into an invaluable program that gives young Americans an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Westman will join 30 other students from Montana in June to embark on the week- long Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Last year’s Youth Tour had a record breaking 1800 participants attend.

Ravalli Electric Co-op is a not for profit cooperative that serves the rural areas of the Bitterroot Valley from Sula to Florence. The Co-op was started in 1936 as part of the national movement that would become the Rural Electrification Administration and was the first one in the state of Montana. Today, the Co-op offices located at 1051 Eastside Highway in Corvallis serves over 8,000 members.