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Fritz to represent North Dakota’s electric cooperatives on national level

Madison Fritz, the winner of Capital Electric Cooperative’s essay-writing contest and Electric Cooperative Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C, has earned a position on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). While on the tour in June, Fritz represented her family’s local electric distribution cooperative as she toured museums and memorials, visited with Rep. Kevin Cramer, and learned more about history, character building and the cooperative business model. Now as the YLC delegate, she will represent all of North Dakota’s electric distribution cooperatives on a national level.

YLC is a joint effort of local electric cooperatives, statewide electric cooperative associations and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) — created to provide an extension of youth activities available to states that participate in the Youth Tour program. Each state is entitled to have one representative on the YLC.

Six of the 15 North Dakota students who earned the Youth Tour trip vied for the YLC position. They were required to submit an extensive application and be interviewed by a three-person selection committee following the Youth Tour orientation at the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) in Mandan. Pamela Clark-Stein, director of education and member services for NDAREC, says that while some of the best and brightest students competed for the opportunity, Fritz was chosen because she was outgoing, personable and passionate about serving her community. “From organizing fundraising events for veterans to teaching ice skating lessons and picking up garbage in ditches, Madison wants to make a difference,” Clark-Stein says. “She has already proven she has leadership skills, and the YLC opportunity will take her to the next level. We couldn’t be more proud to sponsor someone of her caliber.”

YLC is designed to provide participants with stronger leadership skills, presentation skills and a broader understanding of electric cooperatives. As a YLC delegate, Fritz attended the NRECA Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. July 16 to 20. It provided hands-on activities designed for promoting individual leadership development.

A junior at Century High School, Fritz will also attend the NDAREC annual meeting in January 2017 in Bismarck, where she will give a report on her Youth Tour experience. The following month, she will travel to San Diego, Calif., to attend the NRECA annual meeting and join more than 12,000 rural electric leaders nationwide. As a YLC delegate, she will provide assistance to NRECA staff during the annual meeting, attend educational seminars and participate in a variety of programs. Students will also have an opportunity to meet with many influential people including elected officials, NRECA’s board of directors, CEOs and administrative staff.

Education is a fundamental principle of electric cooperatives. Boards of directors and managers say they believe it is imperative to help students understand the democratic process and gain the skills necessary to become tomorrow’s leaders. By sponsoring the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and the Youth Leadership Council, North Dakota’s electric cooperatives are helping high school students experience government firsthand and build a better understanding of our country and their role as engaged citizens.

In the September Capital Electric local pages of the North Dakota Living magazine, we’ll visit with Madison Fritz once again and learn the highlights of her Electric Cooperative Youth Tour trip, and how she feels about being selected as the North Dakota YLC delegate. Congratulations, Madison, on this well-deserved honor.

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