From pandas to politicians, three high school students from Delaware Electric Cooperative’s service territory got a thorough immersion in Washington, D.C. government, culture and activities during the 2019 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in June. Maddie Betts from Cape Henlopen High School, Megan Cathell from Sussex Tech and Madison Johnson from Indian River High School attended the week-long program.
The three high school juniors visited monuments, met with their elected officials and staff members and enjoyed camaraderie among their peers during the annual event, which ran from June 16 to 20.
“We had an amazing group of young people on this year’s tour,” said Kevin Yingling, Delaware Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour chaperone. “DEC’s students were enthusiastic and energetic, and will serve as strong advocates for the Co-op in the future.”
In all, about 1,800 students from 43 states converged on Washington for the tour, which officially started in 1958 at the suggestion of then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) oversees the tour in the belief that co-op youths should experience the nation’s capital
up close and learn about the political process.
The Co-op’s Youth Tour students covered a lot of ground between their arrival on Sunday, June 16, and their departure on Thursday, June 20. The first day of activities produced a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and a night cruise on the Potomac River.
Students also spent a day exploring the National Mall, visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the African American History Museum and other attractions. A baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies was rained out, but the teens got a chance to eat at Nationals Park before returning to their hotel.
The tour also visited Arlington National Cemetery, the National Zoo and the Pentagon, as well as Capitol Hill, where senators, representatives and their staffers met constituents who are soon to be of voting age. They also saw a performance of “Hello, Dolly!” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and swapped state pins with other students on the tour.