Youth Tour—Washington, D.C.: An Experience of a Lifetime

August 18, 2023

This summer, North Carolina Electric Cooperatives sent 44 students to Washington, D.C., to represent their local electric cooperative. For the first time since the pandemic, Union Power’s Youth Tourists attended the tour in person without restrictions.
Since 2019, Youth Tour has been canceled or held virtually online due to the pandemic. Union Power Communication Specialist Emily Aldridge states, “Youth Tour emphasizes the importance of civic engagement and the fact that politics touch every aspect of life. We hope the experiences and skills that delegates gained during the trip will benefit them on their journey to becoming our next great leaders.”
Rising seniors Gabriella Gagnon from Cuthbertson High School, Naomi Udenze from Central Academy of Technology and Arts (CATA), and Ryan Porter from Forest Hills High School participated in the 2023 Youth Tour from June 18-23. The three tourists joined other North Carolina delegates from across the country to explore historical monuments and museums, meet elected officials at the U.S. Capitol, participate in networking events, and learn about our nation’s history and the importance of civic engagement.
Students who applied to participate in the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) were chosen on the first night of the tour. The YLC is a student-driven group with the opportunity to build leadership and public speaking skills to enhance their knowledge of the energy industry and cooperative business. Students gave a two to three-minute speech based on the Cooperative’s seven principles. Once the students presented their speeches, their peers voted on who they thought could represent North Carolina cooperatives. The student selected by their peers will be responsible for representing their Youth Tour class and appearing at various meetings across the state and country.