Area Students Take to D.C. for 2017 Youth Tour
What do you get when five Eastern Shore students join a mix of 1,800 of their peers from across the United States? You get the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.
Five students from A&N Electric Cooperative’s service territory were selected from a diverse group of applicants to enjoy an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. from June 11-15 as part of the 53rd Annual Youth Tour.
Rising seniors Hannah Birch from Chincoteague Combined School, Cameron Evans from Tangier Combined School, Anna Sexauer from Broadwater Academy, Sheridan Wells from Nandua High School and Caroline Williamson from Broadwater Academy attended this year’s Youth Tour.
Sexauer, through an interview process, was selected to serve as the state of Virginia’s Youth Leadership Council representative. She will attend NRECA’s Annual Meeting representing the state.
Their trip was sponsored by A&N Electric Cooperative. The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor. They also visited historical and cultural sites around the nation’s capital, including Arlington National Cemetery, the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the Newseum. Among fun activities the students enjoyed were a twilight cruise on the Potomac, a Washington Nationals baseball game, and the opening night performance of “The Sound of Music” at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House.
As part of NRECA-sponsored National Youth Day on June 12, all of the state groups convened to learn from inspirational speakers. This year’s agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic Medalist and two-time world champion in wheelchair basketball, who shared his inspiring message, “Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out!”
Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 65,000 high school juniors and seniors to visit Washington, D.C., meet with their U.S. congressional delegations and learn from energy and grassroots government education sessions.
NRECA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to 42 million people in 47 states.
“Youth Tour was an amazing experience,” the students agreed. Cameron Evans added, “It was really cool to meet our elected officials and learn about politics up-close. Plus, we made new friends from nearly every state and experienced history first-hand. It really made us think about what it means to be an American, and shows that people our age do care about this country.”
“This event is such a great opportunity that can change these students’ lives,” said Patsy Goard, an ANEC employee who has served as a student chaperone for over two decades. She added, “After seeing firsthand how our government operates and gaining a new perspective on our nation’s history, they return home with knowledge that helps prepare them for their futures, and memories that will last a lifetime.”
For more information about the Youth Tour Program, visit www.youthtour.coop. To learn how you can participate in A&N’s Electric Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour program speak with your high school’s guidance office or contact Goard at 757-787-9750. The essay contest to determine A&N’s Youth Tour participants next year will begin in January 2018.
Headquartered in Tasley, A&N Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit member-owned energy provider that serves over 35,000 homes, farms and businesses in Accomack and Northampton counties as well as Smith Island in Somerset County, Md.