The Washington Youth Tour is an annual, weeklong, allexpenses- paid trip for rising high school seniors in our
service area. Caleb Thompson attended this year’s trip representing Edgecombe-Martin County EMC.
The Youth Tour is a nonpartisan experience with the goal of helping students gain an understanding of American history and how the decisions elected officials make affect their state and their lives. It is a prestigious event in which thousands of high school students from across the nation join together to gain an understanding of our nation’s history and the freedoms we enjoy, as well as the many costs of those freedoms.
On the first night of orientation, Thompson captivated the audience of 42 fellow youth tourists and their families with an inspiring speech, focusing on two fundamental cooperative principles: Open and Voluntary Membership and Democratic Member Control.
While in D.C., the tour participants visited famous sites such as the U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Vietnam Memorial. They met with their congressmen, took an evening boat ride on the Potomac, and attended a youth night with participants from other states.
Impacting the lives of the youth of today is extremely important to the cooperative community. The mission of the Youth Tour, sponsored by local electric cooperatives across the United States, is built on the belief that textbooks and lectures alone are not enough to help students understand the democratic process and gain the skills necessary to become tomorrow’s leaders. Rather, today’s teenagers also need an opportunity to experience government first-hand by visiting
the nation’s capital, meeting their representatives and senators and engaging in interactive workshops and discussions.
By educating our high school students and enhancing their self-worth, Edgecombe-Martin County EMC hopes to promote and inspire responsible and informed participation in the democratic process — in essence, ensuring a stronger future for everyone.