(From L to R) Erika Brown of Smyrna, Rachel Smith of Franklin, Sara Regen of Smyrna, Taylor Akins of Lebanon, Tara Knox of Murfreesboro and Jesee Hill of Watertown. Back row from left Ashlyn Miniat of Fairview, Eric McCormick of Rockvale, Jeremy Jones of Bradyville, John Rowan of Franklin, Franklin High School teacher Stephen Womack and Hunter Rindahl of Murfreesboro.
More than 130 Tennessee students boarded buses recently for Washington and the 2011 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, a weeklong event packed with opportunities to learn about politics and community service.
Tennessee’s Youth Tour participants won spots on the trip for writing the best short stories in their respective electric cooperative service areas. Titled “Electric Cooperatives: iPower the Future,” the short stories were a way for the high-schoolers to learn how their locally owned electric cooperatives provide community-building support as well as reliable, affordable electric service.
On the tour, students saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Jefferson, Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean conflicts. Strolls through the varied museums of the Smithsonian Institution afforded opportunities to learn more about science, history and art. Other stops included homes of presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — a performance of “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and tours of the United States Holocaust Museum and National Museum of Crime and Punishment. The Youth Tour also visited Arlington National Cemetery, where the group laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Later in the tour, the Tennesseans were treated to a special after-hours, VIP guided tour of the U.S. Capitol and met Reps. Diane Black, Scott DesJarlais and Phil Roe as well as Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has been an annual, joint effort of local electric co-ops, their statewide co-op associations and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for more than 40 years.