Merrell selected as Alabama’s Youth Leadership Council representative

Published 9:15 am Thursday, July 20, 2023

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Rising Andalusia High School Senior, Cape Merrell, was recently selected as Alabama’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC) Representative. She is only the second representative from PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in the program’s history.

Cape Merrell is a rising senior at Andalusia High School. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Merrell was one of two students representing PowerSouth in Washington, D.C. for the National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA)’s Youth Tour Program. The program allows high school juniors to serve as electric cooperative delegates and meet with elected House and Senate representatives, as well as NRECA’s senior leaders, to speak about providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity for consumer-members.

Youth Tour delegates submitted videos to Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) for judging, where competition was narrowed down to a panel of three finalists. They then prepared and delivered speeches to their peers who voted electronically, thus electing Merrell their YLC Representative.

Merrell will have the opportunity to attend NRECA’s Power Xchange conference in March 2024 and compete in the National YLC. If she is elected as the national spokesperson, she will give a speech at North America’s largest gathering of electric cooperative leaders.

“It’s crazy to think that one simple essay has led to me being recognized on the national level,” said Merrill. “Being from a small town, we don’t see many opportunities for this type of recognition. I am so thankful to be part of YLC and to have this opportunity to expand my horizons, meet many new people, and learn so much along the way.”

The Youth Leadership Council consists of one representative per participating state, focusing on the history, the core and the values of electric cooperatives at a Congressional level. Delegates also have the chance to work with motivational speakers, network and obtain invaluable internship, scholarship and even employment opportunities, paving their way to be the next generation of leaders.

Cape is the daughter of Walt and Hannah Merrell.