After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Youth to Washington Tour returned. Two charter busses filled with 34 students, representing 16 Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives, and seven chaperones departed Springfield on June 17 for a lifechanging trip.
“Youth Tour is a great opportunity that changes these students’ lives,” says Ashley Graham, Youth Tour coordinator. “This experience helps prepare them for the future. After touring our nation’s capital, meeting congressional representatives and learning firsthand how our government works, they return home with valuable knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime.”
The students had the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representatives Mike Bost, Rodney Davis, Adam Kinzinger, Cheri Bustos and Darin LaHood.
During the trip, Abigail Meyer, who represented Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Mount Vernon, was selected by her peers as the 2022-2023 Youth Leadership Council (YLC) representative for the Illinois delegation. The YLC is a year-long appointment, and Meyer will represent Illinois at national and state meetings and events in the year ahead.
The students also visited historical and cultural sites including Gettysburg, Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court and the White House, as well as many memorials and museums.
In addition, the Illinois delegation got to meet other students across the nation during the assembly of more than 1,000 Youth Tour participants. After the weeklong event, the students returned to Illinois on June 24.
Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school students to visit Washington, D.C., talk one-on-one with their U.S. congressional delegations and learn from energy and grassroots government education sessions.