Three Local Students Win Washington Youth Tour Experience

Last Updated on July 5, 2023 1:45 pm

Lenoir, North Carolina (July 6, 2023) — Three local high school students participating in Blue Ridge Energy’s Leadership Track program recently earned the opportunity to spend an all-expense-paid week in Washington, D.C. representing their electric cooperative on the national Washington Youth Tour.

Blue Ridge Energy students joined 1,500 other students from across America for the 58th annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour — a leadership, travel, and educational opportunity for young men and women. During the tour, students learned about American government, U.S. history, and the cooperative business model. Several members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation took time to meet with the youth delegates from their districts.

Youth Tour representatives from Blue Ridge Energy were:

  • Watauga County: Aidan Stroud, Watauga High School, daughter of Kevin and Amanda Stroud of Boone;
  • Caldwell County: Haley Dorsey, Hibriten High School, daughter of Carnay and Laneshia Dorsey of Lenoir;
  • Alleghany County: Zander Russell, Alleghany High School, son of Dana Russell of Sparta.

(l-r) Haley Dorsey, Zander Russell, and Aidan Stroud

North Carolina Electric Cooperatives Youth Tour Program at The Capitol, on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. John Boal Photography

Prior to leaving for Washington, students were given the opportunity to compete in a speech competition in Raleigh for the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). Haley Dorsey from Caldwell County placed first in the competition, and Aidan Stroud of Watauga County placed third. As the North Carolina YLC winner, Haley receives a $2,000 college scholarship and has multiple travel opportunities. She will travel back to Washington this summer to attend the YLC conference. She will also be invited to attend the 2024 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, in March and the North Carolina Statewide Annual Meeting in April 2024.

The Blue Ridge Energy Leadership Track is a program for high school students that teaches leadership development and helps students prepare for college. The Leadership Track is free to join and more information including an application can be found at /youth-leadership-track.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Wilkes, Avery, and Alexander counties. It also includes a propane heating fuels subsidiary and a business-to-business telecommunications subsidiary. To learn more about youth leadership and scholarship opportunities, visit Blue Ridge Energy’s website at under “Community” or contact your local Blue Ridge Energy office.

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