What is the Government-in-Action Youth Tour?
Every June, as many as 1,500 high school students from across the country spend a week in the nation's capital as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The students are sponsored by electric cooperatives – cooperatives that are committed to educating America's rural youth about America and the role electric cooperatives play in developing strong rural communities.
Participating in the Youth Tour is an awesome way to learn about this great nation, develop leadership skills, gain a better understanding of electric cooperatives, and make friendships that will last beyond the week!
Youth Tour 2017
Students Represent MEC in Washington, D.C. at National Electric Youth Tour
Four area high school students, representing Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC), joined a recordsetting group of 1,800 students from 46 states for this year’s 53rd annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Tour.
Local students sponsored by MEC were Jackson Combs, son of Kerrie and Mark Combs of Emporia; Aajaylah (Jai) Goodwyn, daughter of Felicia Smith of Lawrenceville; Griffin Martin, son of Beth and Chris Martin of Bracey; and Jared St. John, son of Holly and Terry St. John of Chatham. Accompanied by MEC chaperone, Brian Morris, they spent a week learning about America’s electric cooperatives and the critical importance of participating in our legislative process.
The large delegation discussed key issues in today’s electric industry and interacted with fellow students in valuable team-building programs. During a visit to Capitol Hill, MEC students met with Kevin Reynolds, chief of staff for Rep. Tom Garrett, and enjoyed a guided tour of the Capitol Building. Throughout the week, participants enjoyed touring numerous historical monuments and cultural sights.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C.,” says Combs, “and meet new people. I learned that Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit and also a lot about how government works.”
“Before I went on this trip, I did not know there are so many electric cooperatives across the United States,” says Goodwyn. “The places we went and the people we met on Youth Tour changed my perspective on government and leadership from negative to positive.” As part of the NRECA-sponsored National Youth Tour, all state groups were challenged and encouraged by inspirational speakers. This year’s agenda included Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion, who shared his inspiring message, “Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out!”
“This week is always such a great opportunity for our students,” says Morris, who has accompanied MEC’s Youth Tour participants for the past 15 years. “This experience helps prepare them for their futures and challenges their participation in our country’s grass roots political system that led to the development and growth of electric cooperatives across rural America nearly 80 years ago. After touring our nation’s capital, meeting congressional representatives and learning first-hand about how our government operates, they return home with a knowledge that is experienced by few at this age, and further, they have made memories that will last a lifetime.”
For more about the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, visit www.youthtour.coop.
Each spring Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative sponsors students on an educational tour of Washington, D.C., at the National Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Those selected to attend this year are (from left) Griffin Martin of Bracey, Jared St. John of Chatham, Jackson Combs of Emporia and Aajaylah (Jai) Goodwyn of Lawrenceville.