NRECA Youth Tour: The Rising Tide That Stormed D.C.
School may have ended in mid-June, but for the star students who represented Choptank Electric during the 2019 Youth Tour, learning and experiencing new things did not! Emily Thompson of North Caroline County High School and Hannah Eastman of Queen Anne’s County High School had the privilege to experience the Youth Tour leadership program, sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC), that took place in Washington, D.C. June 16-20.
Both rising seniors, they got to experience everything from typical D.C. tourist sites, to the tunnels below the Capitol. The VMDAEC assembled 54 students from 12 cooperatives across the region to visit awe-inspiring sites such as Arlington National Cemetery, the national monuments, and the African American History Museum, just to name a few. A baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies was rained out, but everyone got a chance to eat at the Nationals ballpark before returning to their hotel.
“We had an exceptional group of young people on this year’s tour,” says Andrew Vehorn, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the VMDAEC and Youth Tour Director. “They were enthusiastic and energetic, and even though we did our best to tire them out, they enjoyed experiences that will serve them and their cooperative communities well into the future,” Vehorn said.
In all, about 1,800 students from 43 states converged on Washington for Youth Tour, which officially started in 1958 at the suggestion of then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. The NRECA oversees the tour in the belief that co-op youths should experience the nation’s capital up close and learn about the political process.
“During its time, Youth Tour has brought 50,000 students from rural America to Washington. It has proven to be a tremendous way of exposing our youngest members to the foundations that our countries, and our cooperative family, were built upon,” says Richard G. Johnstone Jr., president and CEO of the VMDAEC.
The VMDAEC delegation covered a lot of ground between its arrival on Sunday, June 16, and its departure on Thursday, June 20. The first day of activities produced a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and a night cruise on the Potomac River.
The group also visited the National Zoo, the Pentagon, as well as Capitol Hill, where senators, representatives and their staffs met constituents who are soon to be of voting age. They also saw a performance of Hello, Dolly! at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and swapped state pins with others on the tour.
Choptank Electric students met with Rep. Andy Harris’ Chief of Staff, John Dutton, to discuss current political issues such as immigration. They also had the opportunity to meet with staff from both Sen. Ben Cardin’s and Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s offices. They were even able to shake hands and snap a few pictures with Sen. Van Hollen himself as they were leaving his office!
“The whole trip was amazing!” says Hannah Eastman. “The schedule was full of awesome activities and I had so much fun meeting new people.”
Are you looking for a resume builder? A leadership opportunity? How about the trip of a lifetime? Apply for the 2020 Youth Tour program by going to our website at www.choptankelectric.coop.