In June, 15 local high school seniors joined 75 other Kentucky electric co-op students for a weeklong program where they learned about the political process, interacted with elected officials and gained an up-close understanding of American history.
The Kentucky Rural Electric Washington Youth Tour is an annual, week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D. C., which is open to select high school juniors going into their senior year whose homes are served by electric cooperatives.
South Kentucky RECC’s mission statement says that the co-op will work to “improve the quality of life in its communities.” An important way that the co-op feels it can improve the quality of life is through its youth, and one way is by participating in the Washington Youth Tour each year.
The students from South Kentucky RECC joined more than 1,800 of rural America’s best and brightest high-schoolers representing electric cooperatives across America.
Now in its 53rd year, the youth tour educates the delegates about the issues facing co-ops, encouraging them to come home to Kentucky and help lead the co-ops in the future.
“The Washington Youth Tour was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to learn more about the inner workings of our national government, our electric cooperatives, and form friendships that would last beyond the trip,” says Aaliyah Ridner of McCreary Central High School.
The busy itinerary for the delegation included visits to national monuments, Smithsonian museums, the National Archives, a concert by the U.S. Navy Band, and the National Cathedral. While at Arlington National Cemetery, the Kentucky students laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Another highlight of the Washington Youth Tour is the opportunity for South Kentucky RECC students to interact with Kentucky’s congressional delegation, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Brett Guthrie, Andy Barr, Thomas Massie and James Comer.
In a rare opportunity, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao visited privately with Kentucky’s students at her offices.
“It is an investment in our co-op youth and the future of the co-ops themselves,” says Chris Perry, KAEC president. “We are so proud of these students. They impress us with their passion for their communities and our nation, and they give us hope for the future. “
The students that attended the tour to Washington, D. C., were: Emma McClellan, Clinton County High School, Celia SanJuan, Lincoln County High School, Hope Anderson, McCreary Central High School, Tamie Burke, McCreary Central High School, Aaliyah Ridner, McCreary Central High School, Kobe Perry, McCreary Central High School, Reece Frasure, Pulaski County High School, Lindsey Jones, Pulaski County High School, JonBlake Richardson, Pulaski County High School, Taylor Young, Pulaski County High School, Kayla Kean, Russell County High School, Aquinna Allen, Russell County High School, Jenna Howard, Southwestern High School, Emmanuel Markin, Southwestern High School, Colton Morrow, Wayne County High School
If your student is going to be a high school junior this year, they can apply for the 2019 Washington Rural Electric Youth Tour beginning in January. Applications are available at the guidance offices of high schools within the South Kentucky RECC service territory.