Youth Tour Visits Washington
PAYTON GARRISON and ARELY YANEZ were selected by Wheatland Electric to attend the 57th annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. From June 8 to 15, Garrison and Yanez joined more than 1,800 high school students nationwide to experience our nation’s capital, government and history.
This year’s delegation of 36 Kansas and four Hawaii youth began their trip with a banquet in Topeka, which featured Youth Tour alumni Rep. Kyle Hoff man, Rep. Steven Johnson and Chief Counsel for Gov. Sam Brownback Brant Laue. Following the banquet, Hoffman, Johnson and Laue led the Hawaii-Kansas delegates on a night tour of our state’s capitol.
After bucket truck rides, safety demonstrations and a co-op career panel questionnaire at FreeState Electric, Topeka, the group embarked on its way to Washington, D.C.
This year, with the assistance of Senator Jerry Moran’s staff , the students had the privilege of touring the White House.
“The students were thrilled to be able to take the self-guided tour of this beautiful historical site,” said Shana Read, director of communications at Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. “As the tour was also on Flag Day, each student was given a flag while on the tour, fostering a strong sense of patriotism.”
The delegates also visited the many memorials; toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Smithsonian museums, Mount Vernon, and Arlington National Cemetery; attended a major league baseball game at Nationals Park, and watched the production of The Sound of Music at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
“The Holocaust Memorial Museum has made the biggest impact on me during this trip. I couldn’t help but feel the emotion. Learning more about that era in history really made me think about all of the freedoms we have in our country,” said Garrison.
Perhaps most memorable for the group was the access the students had to government officials. Students met with Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Congressmen Ron Estes and Roger Marshall. Delegates also had the opportunity to speak with Senators Moran and Pat Roberts.
“During this trip, students learn first-hand the importance of being informed about the issues that impact rural America and being engaged in the political process, and it often opens the eyes of many students to future possibilities in leadership roles in our government, local communities and in our cooperative,” said Shawn Powelson, Wheatland's youth tour coordinator.
“Talking to the senators and representatives inspired me because they were from small towns like me,” said Yanez.
Each year, Wheatland sponsors two students to attend the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., as a strong commitment to our community and our mission to inspire future generations to become leaders. For more information, contact Shawn Powelson at 800-762-0436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.