Rural Missouri - July 2017 - 4
| C O O P E R AT I O N
photos by Paul Newton
Above: In June, Missouri's electric cooperatives sent these 102 rural youth to Washington, D.C. on an all-expense-paid trip. The annual event sends the best and brightest to our nation's capital
to help mold future leaders. Below: Connor Squellati takes a look a the digital images shot by Sonya Hu while standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
n June, 102 soon-to-be high school seniors from
Missouri were sent on a "trip of a lifetime" by their
local electric cooperatives. The talented teenagers
gathered in Jefferson City before traveling to Washington, D.C., for the annual Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. The delegation joined more than 1,800 other
youth in our nation's capital, making this the largest
Youth Tour ever.
The Missouri delegation kept plenty busy with
stops at numerous historic sites, including Arlington
National Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, National World
War II Memorial, Ford's Theatre, Smithsonian Institution, Mount Vernon and many more. The group was
able to take in the opening night performance of "The
Sound of Music" at the Kennedy Center as well.
The delegates spent their final day in D.C. on Capitol Hill where they engaged their elected leaders in
Baylee Bilyeu was sponsored by Intercounty Electric Cooperative and got a
chance to see a special painting on the trip.
Her painting "Prayer for the Nations" finished second in a congressional art show.
After seeing the oil pastel piece, U.S. Rep.
Jason Smith asked if he could have the
painting for his D.C. office. Baylee was able
to view the painting hanging in Smith's
office inside the U.S. Capitol.
Another highlight for the group was
seeing an Honor Flight leaving D.C. as the
Youth Tour was arriving. "Coming off the
flight and seeing all the veterans sitting
there, that was the best part," Baylee says.
"They've waited their whole lives for this
trip. It made me appreciate being able to do
it in high school."
Of the more than 100 youth on the trip,
Trip of a
Annual Youth Tour
to Washington, D.C.
builds future leaders
one was chosen as Missouri's representative on the
Youth Leadership Council. Chloe Momphard, a delegate from Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, will
represent Missouri during the next year on the YLC.
She'll travel back to Washington for more training
and work at the annual meeting of the National
Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Nashville
This year marked the 54th consecutive summer that Missouri's electric cooperatives brought
together some of the best and brightest and sent
them to Washington.
"It can be a challenge to get young people to write
an essay, create a presentation or even stand in
front of a panel of judges and give a speech," says
Mike Marsch, who organizes the trip for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. "However,
year after year, Missouri's electric cooperatives and
a host of high school teachers encourage
them to do it. Those selected for Youth Tour
are our future leaders."
The Youth Tour was inspired by thenSen. Lyndon Johnson in 1957 when he
asked rural electric leaders to "send youngsters to the national capital where they can
actually see what the flag stands for and
represents." The following year, electric
cooperatives in Iowa accepted that challenge
and sent the first group of young people on
a weeklong tour of our nation's capital. In
1964, 22 of Missouri's electric cooperatives
sent 58 students to Washington, D.C.
For more information on the youth programs offered by Missouri's electric cooperatives, visit www.amec.coop and click on the
Youth Programs tab.
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