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Decorative ImageAriel Daniels of Baldwin County and Matthew Dent of Putnam County recently joined three Youth Tour directors, 112 fellow delegates and 14 chaperones for the Washington Youth Tour, an annual leadership event sponsored by the electric cooperatives in Georgia, including Tri-County EMC.

The trip, held June 9-16, offered students a mix of leadership and teambuilding exercises, history lessons with visits to some of the country’s most treasured museums and monuments and a rare opportunity to meet one-on-one with members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation.

According to Kim Broun with Tri-County EMC, the Youth Tour is designed to help EMCs promote stronger communities and a stronger nation by giving as many young people as possible the ability and desire to become leaders in their communities and make meaningful, lifelong contributions. “While it’s true some students are more comfortable in leadership roles, all great leaders need help developing their skills,” says Broun. “Others who might not perceive themselves as leaders can become exceptional leaders if given the right coaching and encouragement.”

Delegates and their families gathered in Atlanta for a kick-off banquet on June 9. The following day, the students departed for Washington, D.C. to begin the week-long journey. Highlights included guided tours and stops at Arlington Cemetery, Smithsonian Museums, Holocaust Museum, Mount Vernon, Supreme Court, U. S. Capitol, Washington Monument, and the MLK, FDR, Jefferson, World War II, Korean War, and Lincoln Memorials. 

Another teaching moment involved discussing today’s top energy issues with members of Georgia’s congressional delegation, including personal visits and photos with Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson and U.S. Representatives Buddy Carter, Lynn Westmoreland, Rob Woodall, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk and Rick Allen.

“My goal of the trip was to come in with a positive attitude and meet as many people as possible,” noted Dent. “Through my peers, I learned to be a better listener. I learned to lead, but also sometimes follow, the people trusting me as a leader.”

“Our tour group was a unique environment full of compassionate, driven and intelligent individuals,” said Daniels.  “This trip helped me further develop compassion towards others.”

This year, Tri-County EMC and other electric co-ops in Georgia celebrated 51 years of sponsoring students for the prestigious event.  Since the first Youth Tour took place in 1965, more than 3,100 teens have been sponsored by EMCs in Georgia and given a rare glimpse into the country’s rich heritage while learning lessons on the importance of contributing to a productive society. (57471001)

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