This summer, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives sent 45 exceptional high school students, or “delegates,” to represent their communities in Washington, D.C., on the 2019 Youth Tour.
From June 15–21, the North Carolina delegates joined more than 1,800 students from across the country to explore historical monuments and museums, meet elected officials at the U.S. Capitol, participate in networking events, and learn about our nation’s history and the importance of civic engagement. The tourists also experienced the cooperative difference first hand by running their own snack and beverage co-op for the duration of the trip.
Rising seniors Grace Coleman of Cuthbertson High School, Scott Hoover of Mount Pleasant High School, and Evan Martino of Piedmont High School, represented Union Power on this year’s trip. Out of dozens of applicants, they each earned the opportunity to attend after completing an interview and public speaking assignment.
During the tour, the delegates demonstrated strong leadership skills and took on roles that expanded their knowledge of the energy industry and the cooperative business model.
Scott participated in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth Leadership Council (YLC) competition – a voluntary public speaking assignment in which the delegates delivered a speech on what inspired them during the Youth Tour trip – landing him in second place and a runner-up for the chance to represent the state on a national level. He also had the opportunity to serve on the co-op H2O Board of Trustees as Vice President. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to represent Union Power during Youth Tour. I really enjoyed myself, and I have met some amazing people,” Scott said.
During Capitol Hill Day, Grace introduced Congresswoman Alma Adams, who represents North Carolina’s 12th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Washington, D.C., was awesome. I enjoyed visiting various Smithsonian Museums, Capitol Hill, and trading pins with fellow Youth Tourists,” Grace shared.
Another exciting opportunity, the delegates got a chance to meet and take pictures with Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Richard Burr on the steps of Capitol Hill. They took full advantage of the opportunity and asked questions about life on The Hill.
“I will never forget this trip, I had so much fun, and I learned so much. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity,” Evan said.
Union Power representative Ilissa Cunningham also shared highlights from the trip. “We selected some amazing delegates to represent us for the N.C. Youth Tour. They were not afraid to step into leadership roles. The highlight of this trip was watching our Youth Tourists absorb every moment – from the National Cathedral to the Washington Mall and Capitol Hill.”
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., is a tradition more than 50 years strong. The tour is hosted annually by electric cooperatives nationwide and the NRECA. Applications for the 2020 Youth Tour will be available at union-power.com this Fall.