It’s a tradition more than 50 years in the making. Every June, amid the summer heat and the bustling streets of our nation’s capital, high school students representing North Carolina’s electric cooperatives join approximately 1,800 of their peers from across the country for a trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.
This year, 45 students representing 24 of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives participated in the trip, which was held June 15-21. In addition to exploring the city, the delegates also learned about the cooperative difference and ran their own snack and drink co-op through the duration of the trip.
While in Washington, the delegates took a cruise of the Potomac River, toured Arlington National Cemetery and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visited several monuments and museums, and toured the United States Holocaust Museum and the Washington National Cathedral.
The tour capped off with a day on Capitol Hill, where delegates got to tour the historic building, learn about the founding of our country and spend time meeting with several members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation.
“On our tour around Capitol Hill, I was able to watch what happens on the Senate floor,” said Surry-Yadkin Delegate Paloma Garcia-Serrano recently in an interview with the Mount Airy News. “While there, I met Virginia Foxx, who is the representative from my district. She took me on the House floor and let me help her vote on a bill.”
For many, the opportunity to make memories and new friends was the highlight of this once in a lifetime experience.
In addition to receiving an all-expense paid trip to our nation’s capital, Youth Tour delegates are eligible to apply for several college scholarships and the opportunity to represent North Carolina on the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), a national cooperative program that seeks to develop strong leadership, presentation and advocacy skills in America’s most promising young leaders.
Karis Dean, one of Piedmont Electric’s delegates on the tour, was selected as this year’s YLC representative based on the votes of her peers following a speech competition held during orientation. Scott Hoover, representing Union Power Cooperative, was selected as the alternate.
To learn more about NC Youth Tour and other investments cooperatives are making in our state’s young people, visit the In the Community section of our website.