Eyes Opened to People and Places
My Youth Tour experience was greater than I could have imagined. I am so thankful for Capital Electric Cooperative’s sponsorship to go on this trip to Washington, D.C. with a group of other high school students from North Dakota and Montana, each sponsored by their own local electric cooperative. I expected to have an exciting trip, but I could not have expected how much I have learned, how many friends and memories I have made, and how much my eyes have been opened to other people and places.
During our Youth Tour trip, we were given the opportunity to explore many incredible monuments and museums. The city of Washington, D.C. is filled with history, and after taking AP U.S. History this past school year, the museums and monuments were brought to life. Visiting the Newseum, especially, was an incredible experience because I love news and journalism and am interested in pursuing a related career. I was able to read newspapers from different time periods, which allowed me to learn about events like the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of someone living through it. To see the history and progress of our nation displayed not only in print, but also in more modern venues of media such as television and social media, was inspiring.
Since students from all across the United States come to the Youth Tour, I was able to meet so many new people from different places. The kids I met from Georgia during the riverboat cruise of the Potomac River taught me about southern hospitality, sweet tea, and when and where to say y’all. A few students from Montana educated me about ranching and heifers. During our bus ride singalongs, our North Dakota group helped me develop an appreciation for country music. By the end of the trip, we knew each other so well that a friend and I created most likely “awards” and handed them out to our North Dakota-Montana group. When I submitted an essay to win the trip, I remember reading that the Youth Tour would be “the trip of a lifetime” and that it would create “lifelong friendships.” It truly has been exactly that.
I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given to be a part of the Youth Tour, and I have great respect for the program. It teaches young people about our nation, and empowers them to be better and more knowledgeable citizens. The tour taught me a wealth of information about the value of cooperative businesses in today’s world. To my surprise, this trip also taught me a lot about myself. A quote from my journal on the third day of the tour reads, “I really do love people, news and travel. I’m thankful for this experience because somehow I’m getting to know myself.”
Overall, the Youth Tour trip was absolutely incredible and more than I could have asked for. Thank you, Capital Electric, for your involvement in the community, and for your investment in youth.
A student at Century High School, Abigail Wu is the daughter of Capital Electric Cooperative members Zongjian Wu and Fengchun Zhao.