Pollock, Mendoza attend 2015 Youth Leadership Summit

Abigayle Pollock and Bobby Joe Mendoza of Lincoln County High School were sponsored by Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) to attend the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s 2015 Youth Leadership Summit March 16-18 in downtown Nashville. Pollock, daughter of Philip and Dana Pollock of Taft, and Mendoza, son of Dennis and Jackie Casey of Taft, were among 46 high school juniors representing the state’s 23 rural electric systems who attended the annual event.

“The Youth Leadership Summit recognizes some of the best and brightest from our area and teaches these young ambassadors about their hometown electric systems and Tennessee state government,” said FPU’s CEO and General Manager Britt Dye. “Students are selected to attend the summit based on their interests in government and strong leadership abilities.”

“FPU is pleased to provide motivated students with this opportunity to join their peers from across Tennessee to learn about rural electric systems and experience the legislative process in the State Capitol,” he said.

“Abigayle and Bobby Joe are fine examples of the future leaders we’re raising in Lincoln County,” said Gina Warren, public information specialist of FPU.

The summit began with get-acquainted and leadership development activities on Monday evening which prepared them for the following day’s visit to Capitol Hill.

Tuesday morning’s breakfast included presentations led by TECA Executive Vice President David Callis and Director of Government Affairs Mike Knotts in advance of the group’s visit to Legislative Plaza. Students then toured the Capitol and saw state government in action at Senate and House committee meetings before meeting their district’s congress representatives for photos in front of the historic building. Senator Jim Tracy and Representative Pat Marsh spent time with the Lincoln County delegates discussing current issues and answering questions.

Following the visit to Capitol Hill, the group enjoyed lunch and leadership activities at a Nashville-area YMCA camp, where students were also treated to a hot-line trailer electric safety demonstration by Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation. Activities continued with a tour of Bridgestone Arena and a Nashville Predators hockey game. The day concluded with special guest speakers Miss Tennessee Hayley Lewis and Sgt. Mike Morgan of the Tennessee executive protection detail who each shared their personal stories about the importance of leadership and the impacts that being a good leader and mentor can have on others.

On the final day of the summit, students learned more about rural electric systems and their daily operations through interactive games. They received an overview of the history of rural electric cooperatives and answered trivia questions in the summit’s “Energy Battle” competition.

“These students who attend the Youth Leadership Summit will soon be our community leaders,” said Dye. “We want students to understand and appreciate what rural utility systems, like FPU, do for their hometowns.  FPU plays a vital role in the success of our community from keeping rates low and offering convenient customer services to helping attract new businesses and industries. The Youth Leadership Summit shares our message of community commitment and helps enhance the skills these students need as our future community leaders.”

In the photos: FPU's Youth Leadership Summit representatives met with their congressmen. Pictured above are Gina Warren of FPU, Abigayle Pollock, Bobby Joe Mendoza and Senator Jim Tracy. While visiting the State Capitol, students toured the Senate Chamber. The Nashville YMCA offered several problem-solving, leadership and teamwork activities for Summit participants.