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Elena Harmsen photo

Bemidji High School junior Elena Harmsen has been selected as Beltrami Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour representative for 2023. Elena is the daughter of Erica and Jeff Harmsen of Bemidji and will attend the 2023 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. June 13-18. Elena’s application reflected her strong commitment to academics and community volunteerism and her essay revealed a good understanding of what it means to be a member of an electric cooperative.

Students will learn about the cooperative difference, participate in leadership training, gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and advocating on behalf of their community, while creating friendships that will last a lifetime. The tour includes visits to the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam, WWI, and Korean War Veteran’s Memorials as well as the Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln Memorials, and more.

“Electric cooperatives are about more than poles and wires – they’re about people and communities,” said Angela Lyseng, Beltrami Electric Cooperative Communications Specialist. “Our youth are our future, and we are honored to be able to give them tools and experiences that will help them succeed.”

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. for over 56 years. Students apply and are selected for this program by their local electric cooperative. A total of over 50,000 students have participated in this program since its creation.

The tour is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) and Beltrami Electric Cooperative. Beltrami Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative located in Bemidji, Minn. Established in 1940, Beltrami Electric provides power to more than 18,250 member-owners within a 3,000 square mile service area located in the lakes region of north-central Minnesota.