News & Press
Earlier this year, local high school students Makayla Schafer and Hunter Kimball, both of Jones County, were chosen for the June 11-18 Washington Youth Tour. They joined 111 high school students from Georgia to learn leadership skills, the need for civic involvement and to immerse themselves in the culture and history of the U.S.
According to Kim Bonner, Communications Specialist at Tri-County, the purpose of the Youth Tour is to help EMCs promote stronger communities and a stronger nation by giving as many young people as possible the ability and desire to make meaningful, lifelong contributions. Another key component is to teach students to appreciate diverse points of view and accept different social, racial and cultural backgrounds.(42213002)
The Georgia delegation joined approximately 1,600 of their talented and ambitious peers and 300 chaperones from 43 states.
“We think it’s important to emphasize to the next generation, particularly at this critical time in their lives, that standing up for what you believe in is a real test of courage and conviction,” says Bonner.
In Washington, highlights included stops at Arlington Cemetery, the Washington National Cathedral, as well as the Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, MLK, WWII, Vietnam and Korean War memorials. The group also toured the U.S. Capitol, viewed the Declaration of Independence, and visited the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and explored the Smithsonian museums.
Hunter’s favorite part of the trip was the Arlington National Cemetery. “Seeing the Arlington National Cemetery and a special Changing of the Guards Ceremony to celebrate the 240th Birthday of the US Army is something I will never forget,” said Kimball.
Makayla enjoyed the sites and noted that her peers on the trip had a positive impact on her. “I enjoyed not only seeing the great sites but also being surrounded by people that had such a different look on life and wanted to do such great things,” said Schafer. “The trip inspired me to alter my college plans and apply to attend the Air Force Academy next fall.”
The students gained perspective on some of today’s important issues and their role as involved citizens during discussions with staff and members of Georgia’s congressional delegation, including personal visits and photos with Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson and U.S. Representatives from across the state.
The Washington Youth Tour, celebrating 50 years of sponsoring students this year, stands as Georgia’s oldest leadership program for teens. For 50 years, more than 50,000 young citizens have traveled to Washington with the help of their electric memberhip cooperatives.
High School students within the Tri-County Service Area ages 16-18 qualify to apply. To learn more about the Washington Youth Tour, visit tri-countyemc.com/washingtonyouthtour.cms or contact Kim Bonner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478.986.8126.