illian McCusker earns Youth Tour trip

In June, more than 1,500 teenagers from across America will descend on Washington, D.C. for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Sponsored by electric cooperatives nationwide, the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is the opportunity of a lifetime for many teenagers. Essay contest winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Century High School Junior Jillian McCusker will represent Capital Electric Cooperative (CEC) at this year’s leadership trip.

“I was completely shocked that I was chosen,” says McCusker with a smile. “I was so surprised and so excited.”

This year’s essay contest required students to answer this question, “Electric cooperatives are member-owned and controlled. As a future member-owner of your cooperative, describe ways that smart technologies and social media might be used to communicate with young adults. How might they be used to increase awareness and interest in the many career opportunities with electric cooperatives?”

McCusker’s involvement in her high school’s DECA chapter and interest in marketing and writing helped guide her well-written essay, which provided several suggestions for content and recommendations for the use of specific social media platforms. “Using social media operations with intention ensures the target audience will be reached,” wrote McCusker. “Social media and smart technology are imperative toward gaining the attraction and attention of young adults, as these platforms shape the ideology and lifestyles of their age group. By utilizing social platform services, electric cooperatives have the ability to successfully recruit potential employees.”

While in D.C., McCusker will make new friends, interact with elected officials and learn more about her co-op and her country. “What really made me want to go on this trip was meeting new people and networking,” says McCusker. “I’m looking forward to interacting with new people from across the country and hearing their stories.”

She’s also excited to learn more about the cooperative business model. “One of the things that impressed me is that co-ops are member-owned. It’s really cool and inspiring,” says McCusker. “I’m interested in the business aspect. It seems really complex to me, and I’m excited to get further knowledge and information.”

McCusker lives in Bismarck with her parents, Kristie and Dave McCusker, and siblings, Anna,  Derrick and Jenna. She is active in DECA, National Honor Society and tennis. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and hanging out with friends. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a career in marketing.

CEC congratulates McCusker for writing an insightful essay and earning the opportunity to attend the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. We’ll follow up with her when she returns from Washington, D.C., and share the highlights of her experience.