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Empowering our youth

(Photo by Daniel Peck Studios.)
Jessica James of Byron, left, and Sarah Paul of Lexington attended the tour as statewide-sponsored delegates.

The 2008 Washington Youth Tour

The 2008 Washington Youth Tour (WYT) challenged 105 high school students from across Georgia (representing 38 electric cooperatives) to step into a new world. The student delegates traveled on a weeklong, all-expenses-paid journey to Atlanta, the Little White House in Warm Springs and Washington, D.C. Upon arrival in D.C., they joined almost 1,400 other student delegates representing electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) from 44 states on the WYT, June 12-19.

Each year, the students quickly discover that the WYT is not just a trip; it is a leadership experience. Delegates learn not only about the electric cooperative movement, but also about American history and how their government works. They meet with their representatives in the House and Senate, participate in National Youth Day and enjoy the sights of D.C.

Delegates give high marks to their visits to national monuments, including the Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR memorials, where they contemplate the words of leaders who helped define and uphold our nation’s guiding principles. At the Smithsonian Institution, they discover and explore art, science, nature, and America’s culture and history. And delegates learn the true price of freedom while visiting the World War II, Korean War Veterans and Vietnam Veterans memorials.

The Georgia delegation poses with Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson on the steps of the Capitol.

Since 1964, electric cooperatives nationwide have sent more than 40,000 student delegates on the WYT, providing them with the opportunity to develop their leadership abilities—for the benefit of themselves, their communities and the hope of a better future.

Today, WYT alumni, prospective participants and other interested parties can visit the Youth Tour Web site, www.youthtour.coop, to learn about its history or reconnect with fellow WYT alumni.





In their own words

Adam Ross of Wray makes contact with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Father’s Day.

The Washington Youth Tour really opened my eyes to …

Dana Brock (Grady EMC, Cairo) ... how magnificent our country is and how proud all Americans should be of our government.

Kristen Browning (Washington EMC, Sandersville) ... the fact that there are actually other teenagers out there who share the same interests and goals I do.

Jessica Ferrell (GreyStone Power, Douglasville) ... everything. I feel that my leadership abilities grew. I was forced to move away from my comfort zone and met new people.

Catherine Lovin (Southern Rivers Energy, Barnesville) ... remembering how great our country really is. It filled me with pride to be a part of a country that treasures freedom and is composed of men and women who will die to protect that freedom.

Dhruthi Patel (Sumter EMC, Americus) ... the foundation of the U.S. government, being open-minded about people and opinions.


Thanks to the tour, I learned a valuable lesson about ...

Maria Cain (Jefferson Energy Cooperative, Wrens) ... how inspirational teenagers can be when we work together.

Amelia Fleming (Hart EMC, Hartwell) ... how important my age group actually is; how we make a difference and are the future leaders of America.

Cherish Hageman (Irwin EMC, Ocilla) ... leadership and how our leaders not only set an example for everyone, but also lived by it, inspiring others.

John Michael Mezzanotte (Cobb EMC, Marietta) ... always being open-minded and accepting people who may be a little bit different through our common qualities and goals.


History came alive for me when we visited ...

Charles Fields Jr.(Coastal Electric, Midway) ... the National Archives. Seeing the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution sent chills through my body when I thought about how they formed our government.

Elisabeth Grimes (Rayle EMC, Washington) ... the Holocaust Museum. As I walked through the museum, I thought about all the people who were murdered and the families that were separated. It made me really appreciate my family and my country.

Devon Hooper (Altamaha EMC, Lyons) ... the Vietnam Memorial. We were honored to be there on Father’s Day and to see the thousands of names on the wall, which really gave me a sense of pride for the men and women serving our country.

Alyssa Sellers (Habersham EMC, Clarkesville) ... our Capitol and the White House. Seeing the places where our government functions was awesome. It is truly unbelievable.


Left to right: Ben Rothschadl of Carrollton, Darby Chancey of Brunswick and Tyler Heck of Warner Robins share a moment during the tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home.

Now that I’ve been on the tour, I plan to ...

Amber Allen (Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, Young Harris) ... find other opportunities for lifetime experiences like this!

Casey Bryant (Slash Pine EMC, Homerville) ... one day be involved in politics.

Anna McIntyre (Amicalola EMC, Jasper) ... pursue a career in politics. Meeting the congressmen and interns inspired me to apply for a program at the University of Georgia.

Amy Stanley (Washington EMC, Sandersville) ... communicate with congressmen through e-mail.

Timothy Stuckey (Oconee EMC, Dudley) ... go back to school and lead my senior class with the new leadership tools I have learned.


Electric co-ops should continue sending student delegates to D.C. because ...

Sheila Boone (Planters EMC, Millen) ... it gives students a chance to learn from monuments and museums, and ultimately, from the students they are surrounded by.

Ndawi Eke (Coweta-Fayette EMC, Palmetto) ... it changes the lives of the students sent. Nothing can ever challenge this experience as being the best thing I have ever done.

Jessica James (Georgia EMC, Tucker/Flint Energies, Reynolds) ... students learn a lot about our country and how it was founded, and how it is run.

Everett Young (Jackson EMC, Jefferson) ... the educational experience and exposure to the issues that our nation faces instill a passion in the delegates to take an active leadership role.



The 2008 itinerary
June 12-19

Day 1: Kick-off banquet in Atlanta with guest speaker Rep. Brooks Coleman, chairman of Georgia House Education Committee

Day 2: Tour Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Little White House in Warm Springs; team-building exercises at Coweta-Fayette EMC in Palmetto; flight to Washington, D.C.

Day 3: Breakfast at Hard Rock Café; see Ford’s Theatre; tour Peterson House, Smithsonian Institution and Holocaust Memorial museums; dinner at Union Station; guided tour of FDR, Jefferson, World War II and Iwo Jima memorials

Day 4: Guided tour of Arlington National Cemetery and wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as visits to Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans and Vietnam Veterans memorials, and the Newseum; Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Day 5: NRECA All-States Youth Day Program; tour Mount Vernon; tour U.S. Capitol with passes to enter Senate gallery; sunset cruise on Potomac River

Day 6: Tour White House; visit Supreme Court; meet Georgia’s U.S. representatives; attend United States Marine Corps Sunset Parade at Iwo Jima Memorial

Day 7: Meet with Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson; tour National Archives, Washington National Cathedral and Washington Monument; NRECA All-States farewell event

Day 8:Flight back to Atlanta

Delegates dream on …

This year’s Washington Youth Tour, June 12-19, challenged teens to think about what to do with their lives. Look at what their dreams are!

>> Altamaha EMC’s Chelsea Garner wants to be a veterinarian and one day open her own practice.

>> Canoochee EMC’s Taylor Smith hopes to obtain a degree in international business and own his own company.

>> Central Georgia EMC’s Jessica Haskins wants to major in physics, environmental engineering or science with a minor in political science.

>> GreyStone Power’s Darrain Stabler plans to hold a political position and properly represent the less fortunate.

>> Middle Georgia EMC’s Alex Peavy wants to play college basketball and be a physical therapist.

>> Mitchell EMC’s Nick Mulkey would like to become an architect.

>> Oconee EMC’s Carla Metts plans to major in journalism and would love to be a sports commentator.

>> Okefenoke REMC’s Hannah Masterson wants to major in equine dentistry and ranch management.

>> Satilla REMC’s Amanda Bennett intends to major in early childhood education and minor in theology.

>> Snapping Shoals EMC’s Ashley Thompson wants to become a lawyer.

>> Walton EMC’s Timmy Philip has a passion for science and would like to pursue a career in medicine or engineering.

—Jody Skipworth, GEMC

Alyssa Sellers of Mt. Airy speaks with U.S. Rep. Paul Broun while, from left center, Everett Young of Bogart and Spencer Swinson of Washington look on.











A chaperone’s take on the tour

Jeff Cox

The 2008 Washington Youth Tour was a raving success, inspiring 105 of Georgia’s best and brightest high school students with unforgettable lessons of leadership in the nation’s capital. The tour turned Washington, D.C., into a virtual classroom, with lessons taught by Georgia’s members of Congress and the various monuments, memorials and museums throughout the area.

Students saw the relevance and experienced the reverence of our most cherished institutions as they walked the halls of Congress, toured the White House, Supreme Court, Smithsonian and many other points of interest in Washington.

Perhaps the greatest reward was seeing the growth of the students, most of whom had never visited the capital. In years to come, many will undoubtedly hearken back to the tour as a life-changing experience. These students will one day assume the reigns of leadership in industry, politics and a variety of other fields. In the finest traditions of the EMCs, the Washington Youth Tour has inspired yet another group of future leaders. Franklin Roosevelt’s words are applicable even today: “This generation of Americans truly has a rendezvous with destiny.”

—Jeff Cox teaches economics and U.S. history at Vidalia Comprehensive High School.

Past delegates

In the thick of things
Beth Galvin (Coastal Electric, 1982)

Beth Galvin

When Beth Galvin traveled on the Washington Youth Tour in 1982 as a delegate from Coastal Electric, she loved being in the thick of things. She didn’t know at the time she would become a reporter, but the tour opened her eyes to possibilities.

The tour made a lasting impression on her. The Iwo Jima Memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery awed her most. “It was a moving experience to walk among the rows and rows of white crosses,” she says.

While in high school, Galvin worked at The Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville, and the experience lit the proverbial “fire” beneath her. “I remember wanting to do something exciting, wanting to see the world and tell stories.”

She got the opportunity, starting with the WYT at the nation’s capital. “It was really a whirlwind,” she says. “I remember … meeting this huge group of bright teenagers, and just having fun.”

In 1989, Galvin was hired at WXIA-TV in Atlanta to answer phones. Later, in 1999, she became the Health Watch reporter for FOX5 in Atlanta, reporting full time on medical news. In 2006, she won an Emmy Award for medical reporting, plus the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Award for Excellence in Television Reporting for her series “24 Hours Inside Grady.”

—As told to Nan Snipes

•   •   • 

Brett Tucker

An inspiration for a career
By Brett Tucker (Irwin EMC, 2000)

In my junior year of high school I was selected to participate in the Washington Youth Tour. In the summer of 2000, I left my home in Irwin County for the big city. I didn’t know a soul when I arrived in Atlanta where Georgia’s delegates met for the very first time. That all changed as the week progressed.

I remember many things from our trip—touring the Capitol, participating in leadership development, viewing the somber memorial to those who died in Vietnam and

observing the changing of the guard. Some of the most memorable things were the friendships I made that week.

One of the tours we took while in Atlanta was of the Oglethorpe Power Corp. building in Tucker, which also houses the offices of Georgia System Operations, Georgia Transmission Corp. (GTC) and Georgia Electric Membership Corp. Little did I know how much effect this would have on my future career.

Today I reside in Duluth and work for Georgia Transmission Corp. as a land acquisition agent. GTC is owned by 39 of Georgia’s 42 EMCs and is responsible for building and maintaining more than 2,700 miles of transmission lines and 600 substations in the state. The WYT was more than just a fun experience; it inspired my personal and career growth.

•   •   • 


A Washington, D.C., career
By Anna Beth Hill (GreyStone Power, 2001)

Anna Beth Hill

The 2001 Washington Youth Tour was an incredible week of experiencing Washington, D.C., for the first time. Although I had always been interested in national politics while growing up, the Youth Tour provided a glimpse of life in D.C. that would later lead me to move here after finishing college.

My favorite memories from the Youth Tour are visits to the Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, Mount Vernon and the fantastic riverboat cruise down the Potomac. I was also thrilled to have an opportunity to meet my representative from Georgia, and remember my sense of awe as we toured the Capitol building and watched former Sen. Zell Miller deliver a speech on the Senate floor.

It was wonderful to see the 2008 Youth Tour participants as they visited Capitol Hill this year, and I hope I was able to convey that they, too, will have opportunities to become involved in public service, whether on a local, state or federal level.

Serving as a congressional aide for Congressman Tom Price has been incredibly rewarding both professionally and personally, and I am so thankful that the Youth Tour played a role of inspiration in my journey to starting a career in Washington, D.C.


September 2008

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