Youth Tour Helps Students Learn How Government Works
Since June 2007, Peace River Electric Cooperative has selected two students a year for a weeklong tour of the nation’s capital in what alumni call the trip of a lifetime. Students partake in the national Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
On Youth Tour, student-delegates visit many Washington, D.C. monuments, memorials and sites, as well as participate in NRECA’s Youth Day event which includes students from electric cooperatives from all over the U.S. On Youth Day, participants hear motivational speakers and learn about how the legislative process works.
This year, PRECO sent Shane Harkins and Brianna Rowell to join 31 other Youth Tour delegates from Florida electric cooperatives. The event brought more than 1,800 participants from nearly every state in the nation.
A homeschool student in Parrish, Shane enjoyed everything about Youth Tour and says it was a great experience.
“I loved everything about it,” he says. “I loved getting to know the people I toured with, the places we visited and the things we saw.”
“My personal favorite was going to the National Archives,” Shane explains. “It was surreal being in the same building with the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.”
How has Youth Tour changed Shane’s concept of the way our government works? “Even though I already had some knowledge of how our government works, I now have a greater understanding. My view has expanded.”
Brianna attends Fort Meade High School in Polk County. She can sum up her Youth Tour experience in just two words: “Really cool!” She goes on to say that Youth Tour was a “lifechanging trip” and “an amazing adventure.”
“I have to say that I have two favorite memories,” she delcares. “I really enjoyed visiting the World War II Memorial because Honor Flights was taking place at the same time as Youth Tour. I got to meet and talk to veterans who were in the war.” Her other favorite experience was seeing the White House.
When it comes to our nation’s legislative process, Brianna says, “It’s a lot more complicated than I realized. I have a better understanding now.”