Energized youth visit the electric capital on 2009 tour

 

WASHINGTON YOUTH TOUR-Pictured on the steps of the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C are students who attended the 2009 Washington Youth Tour. Bottom row are (l-r) Simone Ilia, daughter of Hanna and Selma Ilia of Lafayette; Sagan Likens, daughter of Scotty and Sherri Likens of Red Boiling Springs; and Laura Reed, English Teacher from Metcalfe County High School in Edmonton (KY). Top row are Tina Keisling, Tri-County Electric employee, Lafayette; Elissa McLerran, daughter of Tim and Laura McLerran of Hermitage Springs; and Kimberly Hope, daughter of Kathy and Kenneth Hope of Edmonton. (Picture courtesy Robin Conover)

WASHINGTON YOUTH TOUR-Pictured on the steps of the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C are students who attended the 2009 Washington Youth Tour. Bottom row are (l-r) Simone Ilia, daughter of Hanna and Selma Ilia of Lafayette; Sagan Likens, daughter of Scotty and Sherri Likens of Red Boiling Springs; and Laura Reed, English Teacher from Metcalfe County High School in Edmonton (KY). Top row are Tina Keisling, Tri-County Electric employee, Lafayette; Elissa McLerran, daughter of Tim and Laura McLerran of Hermitage Springs; and Kimberly Hope, daughter of Kathy and Kenneth Hope of Edmonton. (Picture courtesy Robin Conover)

WASHINGTON (D.C.)-More than 210 students from electric cooperative service areas across Tennessee and Kentucky added their names in June to the growing list of young leaders who have experienced the vibrant activities of our nation’s capital as part of the Washington Youth Tour. 

Kimberly Hope of Edmonton (KY); Simone Ilia of Lafayette; Sagan Likens of Red Boiling Springs; and Elissa McLerran of Hermitage Springs were awarded a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., for writing winning short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives: Energizing Our Communities,” describing how their locally owned, member-controlled electric cooperative provides valuable community-building support as well as reliable and affordable electric service.

Laura Reed, English Teacher of Metcalfe County High School was also awarded a spot on the tour to recognize her invaluable support of the co-op’s youth programs.

 

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has been a joint effort of local electric co-ops such as Tri-County Electric, their statewide co-op association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for more than 40 years. Each school year, Tri-County Electric sponsors a short story contest for high school juniors.

 

Winners are awarded expense-paid trips to our nation’s capital the following June as part of the Washington Youth Tour. This year’s whirlwind trip ran June 12-18 and included meetings with elected officials, visits to Washington’s popular tourist stops and time to meet winners representing other co-ops across the state.

 

“This year’s Youth Tour was another fantastic trip,” said Tina Keisling, Communication Assistant, who served as a chaperone. “We always bring a top-notch group of students to Washington, D.C., and this year was no exception. These future member-owners thoroughly enjoyed everything we saw and were model ambassadors representing their families, state and hometown electric co-op.”

 

On the tour, students saw famous sites they’d learned about in school, including the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean conflicts. Strolls through the varied museums of the Smithsonian Institution afforded the students opportunities to learn more about science, history and art. Other fun stops included homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, a performance of “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and an evening cruise down the Potomac River.

 

The Youth Tour also included solemn and sobering visits to Arlington National Cemetery, the Holocaust Memorial and the newly opened Pentagon Memorial, which honors those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Tennessee group marveled at the precision and skill of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon at the Sunset Parade, performed in front of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial’s iconic statue re-creating the flag-raising over Iwo Jima.

 

No trip to Washington, D.C., would be complete without a lesson or two in government and civics. The group was treated to a special after-hours, VIP guided tour of the historic U.S. Capitol by Rep. Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall and Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga and a meeting on the Capitol steps with Tennessee’s senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Later, Tennessee’s House representatives met with their constituents at the Capitol.

 

An annual treat, Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegation joined other trip winners from across the country for Youth Day on Monday, June 15. More than 1,500 students came together to swap stories of their Washington experiences. And Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time wheelchair basketball champion, returned for this year’s program to share his inspiring message for every American, young or old: “Just because you can’t stand up doesn’t mean you can’t stand out.” 

 

“This is another example of the wonderful programs our local electric cooperative sponsors to educate our youth on their hometown electric cooperative,” says Paul Thompson, Executive Vice-President and General Manager. “Through this and similar educational opportunities made possible by Tri-County Electric, our future member-owners experience first-hand how we energize their communities.”