The CYCLE (Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience) Program is a three-day conference held in Jefferson City, Mo. each summer. Over eighty-eight high school sophomores will receive invitations to attend this three-day conference featuring activities and discussion sessions focused on electric cooperative history, state government, and leadership skill development. The delegates hear presentations from guest speakers, work on special team projects, and experience the state legislative process first-hand. The CYCLE program brings together some of the brightest young leaders from across Missouri each year and provides these students with a truly unique and exciting leadership experience.
How to Apply
The annual contest is open to high school sophomores who live and attend school in Cuivre River’s general service area, or who have Cuivre River Electric service in their homes. Local teachers are invited to nominate sophomore students to serve as CYCLE delegates, or students may apply independently.
The 2023 CYCLE Program application period is now open. This year’s CYCLE program will be held July 19-21 in Jefferson City. The deadline to apply is April 19. Winners will be announced May 11.
For more information about the CYCLE program, contact Tim Schmidt at 636-695-4837 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What CYCLE Offers
The conference highlights are a personal guided tour of the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri State Capitol Building. CYCLE delegates will also attend a special CYCLE session in the Senate and House of Representatives Chamber.
During the CYCLE session, students meet staff at the AMEC offices, where there is an orientation about the cooperative business model presented by employees who know the rich history of electric cooperatives and the industry's future. The students hear about how the first electric cooperative members signed up, how the first lines were strung on the poles, and how the electric cooperatives have evolved into the high quality systems of today.
At the start of the CYCLE conference, students divide into teams in which they work to complete a set of challenges. In keeping with CYCLE theme, the team that wins a challenge will receive the highly coveted Yellow CYCLE Lanyard. Each delegate on the challenge winning team will receive and wear the Yellow CYCLE Lanyard, like the contestants in the Tour de France bicycle race, until another team wins the ensuing challenge. The challenges test each team's knowledge of electric cooperatives and their recall of information presented by the various conference speakers.
One of the challenges requires the teams to use a box of supplies to build a model of an electrical system to show how electricity gets from the generation plant to a consumer, and then explain how the system works. The competition is judged by a Statewide line crew instructor. Another challenge requires the students to compete against each other in a trivia game based upon Missouri history and facts.
Before going to the Capitol Complex, delegates get an introduction to Missouri’s history and legislative process. They hear a brief presentation from speakers with experience in government service on how electric cooperatives and their grassroots advocate legislative positions before the General Assembly.
The tour of the Missouri State Capitol Building featured a special visit to the Governor's office. The delegates also visited the Missouri State Museum, stood under the 238-foot dome in the Rotunda, viewed the numerous Thomas Hart Benton murals, paintings, pediments and friezes that decorate the Capitol interior.
The delegates then attend a special CYCLE session held in Senate and House of Representatives Chamber. This exclusive event gives the delegates a rare hands-on experience of a lifetime, as they become the General Assembly.
The delegates are divided into their groups and must present their CYCLE Bills to their General Assembly for approval. The CYCLE Bills the delegates present to their General Assembly always lead to a debate between the groups.
Missouri electric cooperatives are helping their youth to understand the cooperative principles, learn to make good decisions, and develop a positive outlook about public service. By engaging youth through the CYCLE program AMEC and its members are helping to teach important skills to new generations of productive citizens who will help their communities and nation grow.
Youth are the future. Impacting the lives of the youth of today is extremely important to the cooperative community. The mission of the youth programs sponsored by local electric cooperatives is built on the belief that textbooks and lectures alone are not enough to help students understand the democratic process and gain the skills necessary to become tomorrow's leaders.
Rather, today's teenagers also need an opportunity to experience government first-hand by visiting our state and nation's capital, meeting their Representatives and Senators and engaging in interactive workshops and discussions. By educating students and enhancing their self-worth, AMEC and Cuivre River Electric Cooperative hope to promote and inspire responsible and informed participation in the democratic process - in essence, ensuring a stronger future for everyone.
The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) CYCLE Program received the National Community Service Community Investment Award from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in 2014. This esteemed award honors AMEC’s commitment to youth development through programs that help young citizens learn about electric power, develop leadership skills and make contributions to their communities through a variety of activities that emphasize electric cooperatives and the cooperative business model.