Eighty-three of Kentucky’s best and brightest rising high school seniors descended upon the nation’s capital in June, representing electric cooperatives on the annual Washington Youth Tour, an all-expenses-paid, week-long experience sponsored by participating electric cooperatives.
Allison Wade of Jackson Energy was selected as the Youth Leadership Council representative from Kentucky.
“The Youth Tour was an unbelievable experience that was almost too special for words,” Wade said. “Throughout the Youth Tour, I made memories and friendships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and I am beyond grateful to share this experience with other cooperatives across Kentucky.”
En route on two motor coaches, the journey began with visits to the homes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, followed by more than 40 miles of walking to monuments and museums in Washington, D.C..
“As I was surrounded by incredible people, monuments, history, politicians, and current events, Washington D.C. captured my heart,” said Annah Valenta of Blue Grass Energy. “This trip has helped guide my decision to pursue political journalism, a passion of mine which grew much stronger after my week in D.C.. And it’s all thanks to Blue Grass Energy and KAEC.”
Kentucky’s delegation joined a record crowd of 1,800 students at the NRECA Youth Day, where they heard from speakers who motivate and honor the spirit of electric cooperatives’ commitment to community and the important role of being politically aware and politically active.
“I learned about how the government works and I got to see sights that I could only imagine seeing,” said Walker Hancock of South Kentucky RECC. “It was an honor being able to go on this trip and represent SKRECC.”
The students visited Capitol Hill on the same day as the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and four others at a baseball practice. Despite the incident, Kentucky’s congressional delegation kept their commitment to meet with the students, candidly talking about security concerns and answering a wide variety of questions from the students.
“The week I spent in D.C. was a highlight of my life,” said Evan Morton of Meade County RECC. “I am very thankful for Meade Co RECC, as well as all chaperones and youth tour leaders, that offered me such an incredible experience. I left Washington with many memories and new friends that I’ll never forget.”
Coordinated by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, the tour was led by KAEC’s Mary Beth Dennis and 13 chaperones.
“Thanks to Mary Beth and all the folks at KAEC for a wonderful week in Washington D.C.” said Renita Fox, a chaperone from Jackson Energy. “It was an amazing experience and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see these young kids enjoy and have such a good time together.”
Watch the Kentucky Washington Youth Tour 2017 recap video: