In June, rising seniors Andrew Pliscofsky of Mosley High School and Noah Taunton of Wewahitchka High School traveled to Washington, D.C., for the weeklong National Rural Electric Youth Tour. The 2 won Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour contest.
The cooperative sponsors the contest for 11th graders whose parents or guardians are members of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative (GCEC). Contestants are interviewed by a panel of 3 judges from the electric cooperative industry. 2 winners are chosen for the all-expenses-paid trip, joining more than 1,800 youth delegates and chaperones representing 44 electric cooperatives from around the country.
This year, New York sent a delegate for the first time, and Maine sent 2 students after a 25-year hiatus.
The trip included seeing the Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., World War II, Korean War, Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam War monuments; meeting with elected officials; a Capitol tour; a boat cruise on the Potomac River; a tour of the Pentagon; seeing the 9/11 Memorial; a National Cathedral tour; and visiting Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum, Ford’s Theatre, the Holocaust Museum and the Library of Congress.
A highlight of the trip is the Youth Day program. Presenters included Mat Kilgore, a line foreman at Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and NRECA International volunteer, and motivational speaker Mike Schlappi—a wheelchair basketball player who has appeared in four consecutive summer Paralympic Games.
“We were proud to have Andrew and Noah representing Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in Washington,” says
Kristin Douglas, GCEC vice president of marketing and communications. “Over and over again, the Youth Tour trip has been referred to as the trip of a lifetime, and we hope it truly was for these exceptional students.”
The Youth Tour program started in 1957 when co-ops sent students to Washington, D.C., to work during the summer. By 1964, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association began coordinating the effort. Thousands of young people have experienced this opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and learn about our government.