Current Youth Tour Winner

Current Youth Tour Winner

Karena Verbitsky wins Youth Tour essay contest

Congratulations to Karena Verbitsky, a sophomore at South Prairie High School, for winning this year's Youth Tour Essay Contest. 

She will be joining 1,500 students from all over the country to learn about their country’s history and government. The action-packed tour will include a trip to the White House, a visit to North Dakota’s congressional delegation, a boat ride on the Potomac River and sights like the WWII and Vietnam memorials, Holocaust Museum, Library of Congress and more.

Congratulations Karena on a job well done! Read her essay below:

Commitment to Community

By Karena Verbitsky

Verendrye Electric Cooperative makes a lasting difference in people’s lives through their work, but also through their community service. Verendrye has shown their involvement in our community by helping students and businesses succeed, as well as supporting charitable causes. Whether it’s big or small, Verendrye Electric constantly reminds us that they will go the extra mile to solve a problem or to make a difference.

There is a quote by Winston Churchill that says, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  From the start, Verendrye had the foundation of connecting the people in its community. In the 1930s and 40s, when many rural residents did not have access to electricity in their homes, people took it upon themselves to start their own electric cooperatives. In 1939, Verendrye was founded as a non-profit organization to help local communities get the resources they needed. Following along with what Churchill said, Verendrye never had the intentions of making a profit. Instead, the cooperative was focused directly on giving, helping others succeed, and, in the end, making a difference. That single choice to make an impact led the cooperative to have 77 more years of success.

Today, you don’t have to look far to see Verendrye Electric bringing our community together and creating a positive atmosphere in it.  For example, the annual meetings that they hold not only allow members to elect the people who serve on the board, but they also let the community come together, eat, and have a good time. On top of this, Verendrye makes the meeting kid-friendly by setting up games and hosting entertainers. As a kid, I always looked forward to the fun carnival games and the activities at the meeting. Sometimes there were even petting zoos or group games that included all the kids. During the annual meeting, I got to connect with many other kids from my community. In fact, I’ve met a few of my close friends at the meetings.

Along with bringing kids and teens together, Verendrye impacts the community by offering students scholarships and giving grants to schools. Each year, Verendrye Electric offers three $1,000 dollar scholarships to recognize students for their achievements. They also offer the Youth Tour, for which I'm writing this essay. I think giving the opportunity to tour D.C. is a great way to open the eyes of students and show them what is happening in our country. A few years ago, Verendrye also helped my school by using money from Operation Round-Up, a program in which members round their bills up to the nearest dollar, to give it a $1,454 check which allowed my school to purchase materials for a reading program.  Grants like this one have helped many other schools in the area acquire needed materials and equipment. However, Verendrye has personally had a special role in my school life.

I am a currently a student at the brand new South Prairie High School located south of Minot. Getting a new school up and running can be difficult, but every aspect that runs smoothly during the process helps it to be a success. Verendrye Electric has been a reliable source of energy throughout the process at South Prairie. Without electricity, my school would not be in operation, and the community in and around South Prairie would not be nearly as close. Electricity allows the amazing atmosphere and learning experience at my school to continue and thrive. Ultimately, Verendrye helps bring the Community at South Prairie closer everyday.

It is clear that commitment to community is definitely a frequently used core value at Verendrye Electric Cooperative. Simply holding meetings and providing service has made a difference in my life, but the service that Verendrye delivers to communities is creating a chain reaction of positivity amongst local people. Verendrye has been striving to impact local people for 77 years, and will continue to make a difference in people’s lives and communities each day. As Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” and Verendrye Electric Cooperative has done just that.