ELIZABETHTOWN — This year, Four County EMC combined with other North Carolina electric cooperatives to send its largest delegate class to represent the electric co-op community during a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., called the Youth Tour.
Forty-five ambitious and driven high school students visited the Capitol, continuing a co-op tradition now 50 years strong in North Carolina. They joined 1,800 students from across the country to meet federal elected officials, participate in networking events and learn about our nation’s history and the importance of civic engagement.
Ethan Cannady, a rising senior at East Bladen High School, represented Four County Electric on this year’s June 10-16 tour. Cannady earned the opportunity to attend after being voted the most outstanding male leader by their peers at Youth Leadership Weekend held at Camp Bowers in March.
“Youth Tour is a week where everyone becomes friends,” Cannady said. “No matter which state people are from, everyone has a smile on their face and is ready to meet everyone else. It’s an experience of a lifetime where you are able to see the Capitol and many other attractions in D.C.
“The trip also gets you away from home where you learn that the world is much bigger than just your home town,” he added. “Opportunities come to those that stand out: at Youth Tour, everyone stood out in order to be able to attend.”
From sightseeing at some of D.C.’s most famous attractions and historic memorials to enjoying a theatrical experience at the Kennedy Center, this year’s students took advantage of everything the Youth Tour had to offer. Cannady, along with the other North Carolina tourists, engaged in discussions with both of the state’s U.S. senators and several members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill. They also built connections with hundreds of other future leaders from across the country.
“We are so proud of the students who participate in the Youth Tour. They are all young leaders in our community, and in the state. It’s easy to see why the N.C. Youth Tour is still going strong after 50 years,” said Jeremy Dewberry, communications specialist of Four County EMC. “This experience cultivates awareness of our cooperative’s mission and helps build leadership skills and an understanding that every person can make a difference.”
Any rising high school junior can apply to the 2018 Youth Tour. Information concerning applying will be made available in late 2017.