What do college-resume building, making new friends and screaming down an avalanche water slide all have in common? They are all aspects of OPALCO’s Nourdine Jensen Cooperative Youth Scholarship Program and Youth Rally. The OPALCO Board of Directors established a scholarship program in honor of Nourdine Jensen, a long-time board member and advocate for the Cooperative. The Scholarship Program will award three high-school sophomores/juniors with a $500 scholarship and all-expenses paid trip to the Youth Rally leadership camp at the College of Idaho this summer. The deadline to apply is March 23rd.
“The Youth Rally was a fantastic experience!” says Susanne Mietzner, 2011 Scholarship winner. “I learned a lot about how the political process and co-ops work, made some great friends that I’m still in touch with – and we had a ton of fun together. I’m pretty shy but I was welcomed with open arms and made to feel I was a part of something amazing.”
The three students from San Juan County (along with an OPALCO chaperone) will join with up to 100 peers from rural electric co-ops in Idaho, Alaska, Oregon and Wyoming for a packed schedule of leadership building activities and fun social activities such as a visit to a water park, roller-skating, ice-cream social, bowling, dances and a talent show. The Rally, established in 1986, is hosted by the Idaho Consumer Utilities Association who also sponsors additional scholarship awards and leadership opportunities to participating students who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities during the Rally.
All sophomores and juniors from OPALCO member households are eligible to apply. The competition guide book and application are available online at www.opalco.com. Scholarship winners will be chosen based on a personal interview and will receive their awards at OPALCO’s 75th annual meeting on the ferry scheduled for Saturday, May 5th. Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on Friday, March 23rd.
The 2011 Nourdine Jensen Cooperative Youth Scholarship Program recipients were Connar Smith of Friday Harbor High School (received $800 in scholarships and was elected by his peers to return to the Youth Rally in 2012 as a Youth Director); Samantha Swanson of Spring Street International School (received $1,000 in scholarships); and Susanne Mietzner of Orcas Island High School (received $1,000 in scholarships).