Broadening Horizons on the 2022 Youth Tour
EnergyUnited’s Madeline Hiteshue represents NC on the 2022 Youth Leadership CouncilBy Madeline Hiteshue
I was proud to be chosen to represent our state and EnergyUnited, my sponsoring electric cooperative, at this year’s Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., and I am excited to be able to continue my journey with the electric cooperatives as North Carolina’s representative on the Youth Leadership Council.
I knew this trip would be an amazing opportunity, and honestly this experience exceeded every expectation. I met new people, explored our nation’s capital, and learned more from our congressmen and women on Capitol Hill. We spent time learning how an electric cooperative runs and about the seven Cooperative Principles. The other delegates I met on this trip were so nice and never failed to make me laugh. Whether we were going through the Smithsonian museums or the Lincoln Memorial, our group always made sure everyone had a fun time. We were able to explore the city by bus, on foot and even by boat. We enjoyed dinners, dance-offs and karaoke. I was lucky enough to meet two girls on this trip who were so sweet and made this trip so fun. (I mean honestly, how many girls would help you chase down a group of random students from Youth Tour to ask to trade pins in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History?)
“This trip showed me the true impact electric cooperatives have and their positive effect on our entire country.”
One of the most beneficial activities we participated in was to create and manage our own cooperative, the “H2O Cooperative.” The purpose of the project was to learn how a co-op works, so that we would have first-hand experience prior to the start of our trip. We were able to run for the board of directors, and our peers voted for the representatives. From here, the board assigned managers and prices of snacks for the week. The managers were responsible for restocking the coolers and determining how much product to take for the day, as well as managing our “co-op cash” — our form of currency for the duration of the trip. This was a great way to jump into the co-op world.
This trip opened my eyes and helped me further see our nation as more than just my small town. Students from all over our state and the entire country met to make a difference for our future. This trip showed me the true impact electric cooperatives have — expanding further than my own experience in Mooresville — and their positive effect on our entire country. I am so thankful and honored to be a part of this community!
About the AuthorMadeline Hiteshue is a senior at Pine Lake Preparatory in Mooresville.
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