Sometimes it pays to listen to your mother.
Earlier this year, Mom told me about LPEA's National Rural Electric Youth Tour to Washington D.C. I applied by writing an essay about the importance of electricity in my life, and being that teenagers’ lives do revolve around the use of electronics, this was not a difficult prompt.
Gratefully, I was selected as one of LPEA’s representatives – an opportunity to see key aspects of American history, as well as everything from National Treasure. Needless to say, I was excited.
In June, I embarked on a road trip to Denver with my fellow LPEA representatives, Collin Jackson of Bayfield, Isaac Jordan of Ignacio, and Tate Hinger and Jesse Laverty of Pagosa. Nothing bonds people like a six-hour car ride, and by the time we made it to Denver, friendships had blossomed.
While in Denver, we met up with students from other Colorado co-ops and toured Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which supplies electricity to 43 electric co-ops in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. (Yes, Tri-State powers four states, don’t ask, just accept it and move on.) We also toured the state's Capitol and had the privilege to witness the Governor signing a bill into law.
It was a 4 a.m. wakeup call the following day, and us groggy teens were herded to DIA and onto the plane headed for D.C. The first thing I remember upon entering the city was the Washington Monument. The majestic stone obelisk towers over D.C.
Our first stop was the Capitol building where we received an informative and interesting tour… the first of so many. Later on, we attended a meeting that further demonstrated the purpose and importance of co-ops. That night, in our comfortable hotel rooms, sleep-deprived and excited for the week to come, no one took long to fall asleep.
During the days that followed, we toured a plethora of museums and memorials. I was touched by the Vietnam Memorial and awestruck by the Lincoln Memorial. In the National Aquarium, I stood inches away from sharks, and at a dinner theater I laughed while watching a spectacular play of Beauty and the Beast. I was even yelled at by a guard at the Smithsonian’s Modern Art Museum for touching a piece. (In my defense it was a type wheel and why would the artist make a wheel if it wasn’t meant to be spun?)
On the final day, we toured the National Library, which possibly has the most beautiful architecture and interior I have ever seen, and we had the opportunity to talk to our elected national representatives. I am so thankful that they took time out of their schedules to meet with us.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. I learned so much and made friendships and memories that will never leave me. For all of this, I am extremely thankful to LPEA and everyone involved in the National Rural Electric Youth Tour.
Visit La Plata Electric Association's official Youth Tour website to get a detailed look at Tate Hinger, Collin Jackson, Isaac Jordan, Jesse Laverty and Sloan Mazur's Youth Tour experience in Washington, D.C. The website is your link to everything Youth Tour!
La Plata Electric Association Youth Tour Website