Leaders of tomorrow represent their co-op on Youth Day

State Representatives Norine Hammond (R-94) and C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-100) met with the students representing Adams Electric Cooperative and Adams Telephone Co-Operative.


For more than 60 years, the electric and telephone cooperatives of Illinois have given tomorrow’s leaders the opportunity to learn from today’s public officials. On March 20, more than 200 students from across rural Illinois represented 25 co-ops during Youth Day, including 26 from Adams Electric Cooperative and Adams Telephone Co-Operative.

“Youth Day gives students across the state an up-close look at democracy in action as they meet their elected representatives in Springfield,” said Baylee Flowers, legal and government relations coordinator at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives. “State senators and representatives have the opportunity to inspire and encourage the leaders of tomorrow during this annual event.”

In addition to meeting elected officials, the students also learned more about their electric or telephone cooperative’s role in their own communities and had the opportunity to tour the Illinois State Capitol and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, as well as, State Representatives Norine Hammond (R-94) and C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-100) met with the students, including Alixandria Bauer, Caitlin Burwinkel, Anna Dietrich, Josephine Hocking, Faith Klauser, Phoebe LeBlanc, Morgan Logsdon, Olivia Martinez, Miles Moulton, Delyla Pratt, Anastacia Schafer, Azlynn Shannon, Jamen Tchapda, Liesel Vincent, and Ari Waters who represented Adams Electric, and Abigail Hildebrand, Ivy Liesen, Maya Nemecek, Claire Norsworthy, Adalena Pedro, Anika Ripperda, Alainha Rosson, Brock Rumpf, Nolan Stiefel, Liliana Weese, and Aubrey Williams who represented Adams Telephone.

During lunch, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Natalie Phelps Finnie addressed the students. She discussed her background as a healthcare provider and how she got into politics. She encouraged them to follow their passions, live confidently, and work hard.

“You’re embarking upon adulthood,” Phelps Finnie said to the students. “You can do anything you want to do. I just ask that you come to adulthood with the right posture and attitude. … Don’t come with a sense of entitlement that everything is owed to you. Work for it. Earn it.”

Participants also met Paris Van Dyke, the 2023-24 Illinois Youth Leadership Council representative, who was sponsored by Wabash Communications during last year’s Youth Day. She spoke about her experiences over the past year and challenged attendees to say, “Yes.”

“What I want to say to you today is something that I decided to do during this day last year … take every opportunity,” Van Dyke said. “You will learn so much if you just choose to say, ‘Yes.’”

At the end of the day, attendees were interviewed for the chance to participate in Youth Tour, an annual trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives. This year’s trip will be held June 14-21. Alixandria Bauer and Anna Dietrich will represent Adams Electric and Maya Nemecek and Adalena Pedro will represent Adams Telephone on the weeklong trip and meet their elected officials, see historic sites, learn firsthand how cooperatives work and gain valuable leadership skills. Azlynn Shannon and Nolan Stiefel were selected as alternates and will fill in if one of the winners is unable to attend.

Adams Electric Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy — a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to members large and small. More than 700 Touchstone Energy cooperatives in 46 states are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day. Adams Electric Cooperative is committed to providing superior service based on four core principles: integrity, accountability, innovation, and commitment to community. The co-op serves more than 9,000 meters over 2,269 miles of line in parts of Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike, and Schuyler counties. For more information visit adamselectric.coop.

Founded in 1952, Adams Telephone Co-Operative serves 30 communities in Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike and Schuyler counties with fiber to the home, focusing on places where there was previously little or no coverage. Adams provides a full range of data, voice and networking services backed by a local fiber optic facility, local and long distance telephone service, and high-speed Internet access. We are proud to connect 20,000 broadband customers. In a world driven by connectivity, our existing fiber networks are the backbone of our operations. For more information visit www.adams.net.

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