Standing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, 2019 Washington Youth Tour delegates watched in complete silence as four delegates walked up to place a wreath at the tomb.
EMCs from all over Georgia sent youth delegates on the week-long trip to meet with one another and learn about our nation’s government, which gives electric cooperatives the freedom to thrive.
Delegates visited places like the Smithsonian Museums, Mount Vernon, the National Archives, the Capitol Building, and Congress. They saw U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue and met with their representatives. Delegates also enjoyed a live performance of Grease and a riverboat cruise on the Potomac complete with glow sticks, snacks, and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ blasting on deck.
“[Washington Youth Tour] changed my perspective because I really got to see where everything happens and how it works,” said Kaitlyn Smith, a 2019 delegate from Northgate High School. After graduation, Smith plans to attend Georgia Tech. “I plan on majoring in Aerospace engineering, but after I retire, I plan on going into politics,” said Smith.
Jatin Patel, CFEMC’s delegate from Fayette County High School said, “The trip made me realize how big of a stage it is on the national level, though every level—municipal, state and national—does tremendous things to help our citizens and our society.” Patel also plans to go to Georgia Tech after graduation. While he’s undecided about a major, he says the trip opened him up to opportunities at EMCs and NRECA. “I might intern in D.C.,” added Patel.
CFEMC Communications Coordinator Katie Norris went as a chaperone for the 2019 tour. “I loved seeing the kids’ faces as they got to experience our Capitol and actually walk through places they’d only seen in pictures.” Norris also noted how some of the delegates were shy at first but blossomed by the end of the tour. “One of our delegates, Jatin Patel, was a little quiet when I first met him. By the end of the tour, he was friends with everyone and couldn’t stop talking about what he loved on the trip.”
Patel spoke on stage at Coweta-Fayette EMC’s Annual Meeting this past October about his experience as a 2019 delegate. Even though he is undecided about what he’d like to accomplish in life, Patel said, “After seeing so many people invested in the welfare of our country, I can’t help but think I’d like to do the same.” Patel reflected that how he will “join the ranks of Youth Tour alumni who would go on to change the world.”
Washington Youth Tour is much more than an educational trip. It is a fun and action-packed experience that is cultivating the next generation of leaders.
The next Washington Youth Tour will take place June 18-25, 2020. Coweta-Fayette EMC is now accepting applicants for the 2020 cycle. The deadline to apply is February 7, 2020.
Applications are available in guidance offices at local high schools. Applicants are also welcome to submit a digital application made available at utility.org. A Coweta-Fayette EMC representative will visit local high schools in order to distribute applications and answer questions. Keep an eye on your school’s calendar for scheduled visits.