Youth Tour delegates take in sights of D.C.
As this year's Youth Tour delegates returned home from Washington, D.C., they had many stories and memories to last a lifetime.
The only problem they ran into was running out of storage space on their cellphones.
"I took so many pictures," Olivia Brune quipped. "It was a lot of fun."
All six delegates sponsored by Cuivre River Electric Cooperative agreed the trip to D.C. exceeded their expectations.
They were part of a contingent consisting of 108 students who participated in the 56th annual Missouri Electric Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., June 14-20.
Local delegates sponsored by CREC were Tian Heine, Megan Kruse and Rebecca Falgout, all from Liberty High School; Karli Heimburger and Tatum Green, both from Holt High School; and Brune, Clopton High School.
The seven-day tour provides an action-filled week for high school students, offering them opportunities to learn firsthand what it is like to be involved in politics, leadership positions, community service and today’s pressing issues.
“The Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students and we’re proud to send our best and brightest to Washington, D.C. this year to participate,” said Chris Massman, vice president of Member Services for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in Jefferson City.
Highlights included the delegates visiting with representatives from their congressional districts and touring famous monuments, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums and Arlington National Cemetery. After a 30-year hiatus, the group also went on a tour of the White House. The youth group also took a sightseeing and dance cruise on the Potomac River one evening with delegates from other states.
Other events of the week included participation in the Electric Youth Day, during which a special program coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association brought together nearly 2,000 Youth Tour delegates from across the United States. The delegates enjoyed featured speeches by government leaders and motivational speakers, such as Mike Schlappi, an inspiring four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion.
"You learn how important our nation's capitol is," Brune said.
Since 1964, CREC has sponsored over 200 Youth Tour delegates for visits to Washington, D.C. The annual contest is open to high school juniors who live and attend school in CREC's general service area, or who have CREC service in their homes.
What Is Youth Tour?
The Youth Tour provides high school juniors with a unique opportunity to learn about democracy and leadership in Washington, D.C. The goal of the Youth Tour is to foster students’ appreciation for the democratic form of government; educate students about the role of electric cooperatives in the national economy; expand their understanding of cooperatives as a business model; introduce students to the cooperative principles and understanding the value of rural electrification; expose students to the sights and sounds of our nation’s heritage; build students’ leadership skills so that they may make a difference in their communities; and reward students for academic achievement and community leadership.
Youth are the future. Impacting the lives of the youth of today is extremely important to the cooperative community. The mission of the Youth Tour sponsored by local electric cooperatives across the United States is built on the belief that textbooks and lectures alone are not enough to help students understand the democratic process and gain the skills necessary to become tomorrow's leaders. Rather, today's teenagers also need an opportunity to experience government first-hand by visiting the nation's capital, meeting their Representative and Senators and engaging in interactive workshops and discussion.
By educating our high school students and enhancing their self-worth, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative hopes to promote and inspire responsible and informed participation in the democratic process - in essence, ensuring a stronger future for everyone.