“It means so much that my EMC went to so much effort to give us the best possible experience,” said a 2021 Washington Youth Tour Delegate
Kiersten Johnson (Dougherty Comprehensive High School) and Isabelle Rubendall (Westwood Schools) have been chosen to participate in the 2023 Washington Youth Tour, an all-expense-paid leadership experience sponsored by Georgia’s electric membership cooperatives, including Mitchell EMC.
For more than 50 years, the tour has helped promising student leaders to become exceptional young adults.
According to Heather Greene with Mitchell EMC, the Youth Tour was established to inspire the next generation of leaders. This year’s tour, which takes place June 15-22, offers opportunities for students to meet policymakers, tour historic monuments and participate in leadership experiences, all while making new friends from across the state and the nation.
Teens on the tour are challenged to consider the part they play in government and to understand the cooperative business model to become engaged citizens and to learn about careers in public service.
“Preparing the next generation of leaders is crucial to ensuring our community, state, and nation will be in good hands,” says Heather Greene with Mitchell EMC. “We see the tour as a way to kindle the spark of leadership in high schoolers by showing them they belong among those willing to step up in service to others.”
Johnson and Rubendall were carefully selected through a rigorous application process. Mitchell EMC receives recommendations from school counselors and conducts in-person interviews with the candidates in front of a panel of judges from local communities.
EMC leaders and former student delegates agree the Youth Tour has grown into an invaluable program that gives young Americans an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
As a recent delegate explained, “I learned so much about myself and our country and made so many friendships that I know will last a lifetime.” While another remembered, “The Washington Youth Tour was not just full of educational experiences but fun ones too!”
The 108 teen delegates will gather in Atlanta to kick off the tour, spending time getting to know each other before departing for Washington D.C.
When the group arrives in D.C., participants tour historic locations like Mount Vernon, explore museums and monuments, and meet with their elected officials to discuss the issues that are important back home. Georgia’s tour delegates will convene with more than 1,800 youth representing electric cooperatives across the nation and exchange views concerning local and national issues.
“All the delegates were unique with so many different backgrounds,” said another delegate. “It was interesting to see how other teens see society and politics and to be able to openly talk about issues with others. It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip.”
Since 1965, the Washington Youth Tour has given 3,000 students in Georgia and more than 50,000 students nationwide the opportunity to take part in this memorable experience. The program was initially implemented at the request of President Lyndon Johnson to “send youngsters to the nation’s capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.”
Mitchell EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to approximately 15,251 members in 14 counties.