Local students selected for Youth Tour program

Published 12:58 pm Friday, May 3, 2013

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative's Washington Youth Tour delegates this year are (left to right) Joel Levins, Brooke Landry, Neal Ousley, alternate Blaire Landry and Samuel Gasson.

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour delegates this year are (left to right) Joel Levins, Brooke Landry, Neal Ousley, alternate Blaire Landry and Samuel Gasson.

Two Chilton County students will represent Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (CAEC) in Washington, D.C. this summer as they participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Washington Youth Tour program.

Samuel Gasson, a junior at Thorsby High School, and Neal Ousley, a junior at Maplesville High School, were two of four high school students selected to serve as CAEC’s Washington Youth Tour/Youth Leadership Program delegates June 14– 20.

Gasson and Ousley, along with Brooke Landry from Marbury High School and Joel Levins from Wetumpka High School, will represent CAEC among 1,500 high school juniors from cooperatives across the United States.

Students were selected based on an application, an interview process and their demonstration of leadership skills.

Blaire Landry of Marbury High School will serve as first alternate if any of the four delegates cannot fulfill their duties while in Washington.

Gasson is the son of Gary and Sandra Gasson of Clanton.

“He’s a wonderful student,” Thorsby Principal Russ Bryan said of Gasson. “Congratulations to him and his family. He’s a fine representative of Thorsby High School.”

Ousley is the son of Charles and Pam Ousley of Stanton.

“It is a great honor, and we were very excited he passed the interviews and everything to be selected to go to Washington,” Pam Ousley said of Neal, adding that he and Gasson have become friends through the program.

According to a CAEC press release, the Youth Tour program “provides young leaders a life-impacting opportunity to increase their understanding of the value of rural electrification and become more familiar with the historical and political environment of the nation’s capital with visits to monuments, government buildings and cooperative organizations. They will also be able to visit with elected officials and increase their knowledge of how the federal government works.”

The four Washington delegates and first alternate also qualified to participate in both the Alabama Rural Electric Association’s (AREA) Youth Tour in Montgomery held in March, as well as the Alabama Cooperative Youth Conference to be held at the 4-H Youth Development Center in Columbiana on July 9–11.

Jared Hunter from Saint James School, Ellen Mims from Autauga Academy and Grayson Webster from Prattville High School also qualified for the AREA

Montgomery Youth Tour and the Alabama Cooperative Youth Conference.

CAEC Communications Specialist Tiffany Trueblood said Gasson and Ousley were two of about 200 students who attended the AREA Youth Tour in Montgomery in March.