Perspective: Next Generation Leaders
What do 1,500 youth delegates in our nation’s capital have in common? They’re part of the Washington Youth Tour – a weeklong leadership development program organized by the nation’s electric cooperatives, including Jackson EMC.
We’ve been sending local high school students to Washington, D.C. since 1971. The program started in 1964 after Lyndon B. Johnson encouraged electric cooperatives to send students to the nation’s capital, “where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.”
Since then, more than 50,000 students across the country have represented their local co-ops while meeting with their elected officials and discussing
issues that are important back home. Without a doubt, the youth tour is an invaluable program that gives young Americans an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
The Washington Youth Tour is more than a sightseeing trip. We’ve heard many times over the years that the experience helped these future leaders grow into successful professionals. Our former youth tour delegates turn up everywhere in the community. They’re doctors, teachers, legislators, lawyers, servicemen and servicewomen, engineers and more.
One of those former delegates is Clay Lowman. He’s an engineer in our Gwinnett office who helps plan the future of our infrastructure projects, like where new power lines and equipment will be installed to meet the growing needs of our community. Clay was a delegate for a fellow cooperative, Amicalola EMC. He used his experience from the tour in 2005 to serve on this year’s teambuilding crew before delegates traveled to Washington, D.C. Clay said: “It’s really inspiring to have this full circle experience. It was impactful to experience everything the Washington Youth Tour exposed me to in high school, and now that I’m in the EMC world, I’m excited to see another generation of young people go on their journey.”
Clay is one of many examples of how the youth tour benefits communities well in the future. Youth tour participants return home with a deeper understanding and skill set of what it takes to be a leader, and as a result, they put these
skills to use right here in our community.
We’re proud to support our future leaders through the Washington Youth Tour. In this issue of JEMCO News, you’ll read their stories and learn how the tour is already reshaping their futures. And, if you know a promising student who may make an excellent delegate representing Jackson EMC on next year’s tour, encourage them to learn more at jacksonemc.com/wyt.
Have a story to share about a student from the Washington Youth Tour? Email me at [email protected].