The cooperative will send up to six high school sophomores who are educated inside its service territory to the Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience, CYCLE, in July. Applicants do not have to receive electric service from Co-Mo to attend.
CYCLE was started in 2004 and just two years later won the National Community Service Community Investment Award from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The event runs this year from July 17-19 in Jefferson City and will be attended by more than 100 students from around the state.
"This country needs to identify and train those who are going to make a difference in the next 50 years," said Co-Mo's CYCLE Coordinator John Agliata. "CYCLE can be either the first step or the next step in that process."
The three-day event teaches kids about leadership and introduces them to inspirational speakers who talk about how to step up and serve. Delegates to CYCLE also learn about electric cooperatives and their important role in the fabric of rural America. In addition, the kids attend a special CYCLE session in the Senate and House of Representatives Chamber in Jefferson City, proposing and debating a bill of their own before voting on its passage.
"On top of all that, delegates get to meet new people, grill out in a local park and have a comedian hypnotist come entertain them," Agliata said. "It's so amazing seeing new friendships form that last well into these kids' futures."
Applications for CYCLE are available at the cooperative's two offices and on its website (co-mo.coop) and Facebook page (facebook.com/comoelectric). They must be received by March 29, and winners will be announced in early to mid-April. Those who attend CYCLE will receive $100 after the conference.
"There's no cost to the delegates or their families," Agliata said. "Co-Mo has a commitment to the communities it serves, and this is part of it. We recognize the need to train the next generation of leaders for the betterment of our communities."
For more information about CYCLE, call Agliata at 800-781-0157.