Pleasanton High School senior Landry George gets the opportunity to go up in a bucket truck operated by FreeState Electric Cooperative during a Youth Leadership Council conference in Topeka. (Photo by Shana Reed, KEC)
TOPEKA – Landry George, a senior from Pleasanton High School, will travel to Nashville next March to represent Kansas as one of only 35 students nationwide selected to participate in the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), a program of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
George and her peers in YLC will spend March 3-8, 2023, at NRECA’s 81st annual meeting in Music City, where they will carry in their state flags as part of the general session opening ceremony in front of thousands of electric cooperative representatives from around the country. They will also assist with the operation of the meeting and accompanying educational opportunities as pages.
George was introduced to YLC through the Kansas Electric Youth (KEY) Leadership Conference coordinated by Kansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., (KEC). She was sponsored by her her local co-op, Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, which has offices in Mound City, Gas, and Girard.
For George, who was selected by her peers at the state conference to represent Kansas at the national event, the leadership conference was inspirational.
“This conference, as a whole, has inspired me to be a part of helping other leaders create leaders,” George said. “The quote that inspired me the most on this trip was from KEC CEO Lee Tafanelli, who said, ‘Preparation plus opportunity equals success.’”
The KEY Leadership Conference was created as an alternative during the pandemic to the long-standing Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. Heartland selected George for sponsorship to the conference based on the strength of her application; she also received a $500 scholarship from the co-op.
The 2022 four-day event focused on the fundamentals of leadership and hands-on engagement with students representing Kansas communities. Activities included a night tour of the State Capitol, an electric safety demonstration at FreeState Electric Cooperative, and a tour of the Brown V. Board of Education National Historical Site. The students attended interactive workshops to help prepare them for success as future leaders, including seminars on online reputation management, budgeting and investment, energy efficiency, and the transition between high school and higher education.
George will now participate in a series of virtual training sessions this fall with the other YLC representatives, which will culminate at the national meeting in Nashville.
KEC is the statewide service organization for the rural electric cooperatives in Kansas. Formed in 1941 and headquartered in Topeka, KEC represents the interests of and provides services and programs to the electric co-ops that serve in Kansas. Today, KEC serves 26 distribution electric cooperatives and three generation and transmission electric cooperatives providing electricity to approximately 80 percent of the land mass.
NRECA is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. The convention in Nashville is expected to draw as many as 10,000 local electric cooperative representatives from across the country, according to KEC spokeswoman Shana Reed.
Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. powers rural lifestyles throughout more than 11,000 locations in southeast and eastern Kansas. Heartland’s service area includes consumer-members in 12 counties, including Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Labette, Linn, Miami, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties.