This June, PEC sponsored 10 students to attend Youth Tour, a yearly trip to Washington, D.C., that brings together high school students representing electric cooperatives nationwide. During the week-long trip, students explored museums, memorials, and monuments. Students also had the chance to visit with their Congressional representatives while creating lasting friendships. Youth Tour allows young people to visit Washington to, in the words of Lyndon B. Johnson “actually see what the flag stands for and represents.”
PEC Youth Engagement Representative Celeste Mikeska had the privilege of accompanying our delegates to D.C. as a chaperon, and saw firsthand the profound impact Youth Tour can have. “I was truly overjoyed to witness the changes in these students in just 10 short days,” Mikeska said.
Delegates said they made lifelong friendships, benefitted from meeting people of different backgrounds, and learned the importance of engaging with government.
Youth Tour delegate Kenadee Stewart told us how the history in Washington affected her.
“To walk where our founding fathers did, to stand where MLK delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and to join with millions of citizens to pay respects to the fallen soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the World War II Memorial was so eye opening,” Stewart said. “[It] really made me even more proud and thankful for the country I am blessed to live in.”
For more than 60 years, PEC has participated in Youth Tour. In 1957, then-Sen. LBJ urged the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) directors and staff to bring young people to Washington to watch the political process in action. That idea spurred the creation of the Youth Tour program.
“PEC is proud to sponsor these amazing teens who I know will go on to become leaders and be influential,” Mikeska said.
This year, PEC’s delegates joined 1,500 students from electric cooperatives across the country on the trip. The 2019 Youth Tour delegates included:
Elisabeth Allbritton, Akins High School
Gabriel Alvarez, Round Rock Christian Academy
Harrison Fugate, Lehman High School
Barbara Gano, Leander High School
Alexa Harper, John Paul II Catholic High School
Marcos Martinez, Westwood High School
Madeleine Morris, Canyon Lake High School
Matthew Roiland, Hays High School
Kenadee Stewart, Marble Falls High School
Abigail Truman, Cedar Park High School