Letters from Youth Tour

Youth Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for high school sophomores and juniors from electric cooperative families. Every year, more than 1,800 delegates from across the country meet in the nation’s capital to learn about public service, our nation’s rich history, and the electric cooperative story.

Who better to tell the Youth Tour story than the delegates themselves? We asked our alumni from this past summer’s trip a simple question: How did Youth Tour change you?
Here’s a sampling of what they had to say.

Colin Conner poses with the Kennedys at Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Before Youth Tour began, I was very excited to go on the trip. Even though I didn’t know anyone at all, my anticipation was high. On the other hand, I was nervous, and I had always thought of myself as a shy person. I was very nervous to meet people. I questioned whether I should even go on the trip, but I made the decision to do so.

Little did I know the Youth Tour would be one of the best trips of my life. I never knew that I was so outgoing. I met a lot of people and made great friends. I met so many new people that I realized that I wasn’t shy.

The trip changed me into a more confident and outgoing person that I never knew I was. Though I doubted going at first because of how nervous I was, I’m happy I went because I will never forget this trip and the memories I made. This trip truly was one of the best trips of my life. I will never forget it.

Colin Conner
Butler Rural Electric Cooperative

Faith Griffiths (right) with some new friends on the 2018 Youth Tour.

“You are the future. Every person sitting in this room is a leader.” I was sitting in a huge ballroom with hundreds of young people from around the country. I felt a sense of being a small part of something much larger. The moment felt surreal.

Youth Tour put things in perspective for me. Growing up in a small town, I’ve always been around a relatively small circle of people in my day-to-day life. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people from all over the country. I was making jokes with a girl from Alaska and dancing with a group from Texas. Being around so many people, all with different backgrounds and experiences, all with a common goal of being the next generation of leaders, was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

This trip provided so many unique opportunities. Besides all of the fun trips to museums and monuments, I learned a lot about leadership and service alongside youth from across the country. Being around all these people renewed my inspiration and hope for the future. I loved the community in the group of youth I was with; I know they are the next generation of leaders, and I could not have been happier to be among them.

Faith Griffiths
Firelands Electric Cooperative

Hanna Bentley and Sebastian Kirkpatrick represented Consolidated Cooperative on the ’18 Youth Tour.

I was thrilled when I received the letter from my cooperative that said I was going to Washington, D.C. I have always loved traveling and jumped at the chance to go to the nation’s capital. But I was also nervous about the trip. I was scared to be on a bus for six days with complete strangers.

I remember sitting at the orientation lunch with my mom and brother, feeling increasingly anxious about the long ride ahead. While I was eating, I looked up at the projector and saw the encouraging advice of the past Youth Tour members. They wrote about how everyone felt the same way and urged students to open up and talk to each other. I immediately felt better.

The advice of the former Youth Tour students gave me the courage to start conversations with the other students and helped me to make friends. I was changed by Youth Tour because I became more outgoing and open with strangers. The tour gave me the confidence to be more outgoing than I ever was before.

Looking back, this was the happiest time of my life. Every day was a different adventure with my new friends. Youth Tour was an experience I will never forget; I would give anything to get back on that bus and do it all again.

Hanna Bentley
Consolidated Cooperative

Kloey Murphey leads off the popular O-H-I-O pose at the
U.S. Supreme Court Building.

Youth Tour was an unforgettable experience that has changed me for the better. Before going on the tour, I had never visited Washington, D.C., and had never seen any of the beautiful monuments and memorials that our nation’s capital has to offer. But throughout that week, I got the chance to experience it all.

From the White House to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, I saw so much beauty and felt so much emotion from our country’s history.

Youth Tour gave me a deeper appreciation for our nation and reminded me of all that has been done to allow me to live happily and freely. The tour also helped me gain leadership skills and confidence. Meeting 44 strangers and living with them for an entire week was definitely a new experience for me, but I now look back at it as one of my best memories.

The trip changed me in so many ways, and I will never forget the memories and friendships that I made.

Kloey Murphey
Darke Rural Electric Cooperative