Staff Reports

The East Texas Rural Electric Youth Seminar (ETREYS) just concluded its 31st season of giving back to over 100 youth in the north east Texas area.

ETREYS is sponsored by nine electric cooperatives consisting of Bowie Cass, Cherokee County, Deep East Texas, Houston County, Jasper-Newton, Panola Harrison, Rusk County, Upshur Rural and Wood County Electric Cooperatives and is held on the campus of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.

Students started out the week learning what it takes to be a leader and were given ideas to take back to their local schools. They also heard first-hand what it feels like to be the victim of bullying and one person’s struggle to overcome.

“It really makes you stop and think how hurtful words and actions can be and how much impact you can have on another person’s life,” a news release stated. “Students were motivated and encouraged to follow their dreams, to have big dreams, and learned how to push through any boundaries trying to hold them back.”

ETREYS taught the students about electric cooperatives and the business model they are governed by. They learned why co-ops were created and how they give back.

Each student participated in a scholarship interview, which gave them an incredible opportunity to express themselves while competing for scholarship monies that were awarded at the end of the week.

A couple of dances and an exciting evening of “Minute to Win It” games rounded out the fun.

New this year was the opportunity to participate in a service project. ETREYS purchased wagons and each cooperative’s students spent time putting the wagons (complete with an ETREYS logo) together for the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Shreveport.

Jennifer Laurent gave a presentation to the students about the hospital at the banquet on Thursday evening and the wagons were presented to her.

The wagons were a huge donation, Laurent said, and will be used by the families and loved by the children.

“It was an incredible week, opportunity and privilege to be able to pour into these students,” the news release state. “They are so eager to learn. They are our future and with all the negative the world throws at us, it is refreshing to see that there is a lot of great out there, too.