Breanna Clemmons, McKenna Waters and Jessie West recently traveled to Washington, D. C. for the Rural Electric Youth Tour.
McKenna and Breanna are seniors at Wewahitchka High School, and Jessie is a senior at Blountstown High School.
McKenna and Jessie were eligible to go on the trip as winners of Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour Contest. Each year, the Cooperative sponsors the contest for eleventh-graders whose parents or guardians are members of GCEC. Contestants are interviewed by a panel of three judges from the electric cooperative industry, and two winners are chosen to travel on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June.
Breanna won the statewide essay contest for children and grandchildren of cooperative employees and trustees.
While in Washington, the students toured museums; Arlington National Cemetery; the Iwo Jima Monument; the U. S. Capitol area; the mall area; the Korean, Lincoln, Vietnam, FDR, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr. and World War II Memorials; Mt. Vernon; and the National Cathedral. They also saw the U. S. Marine Corps Sunset Parade; attended a boat cruise and dance on the Potomac River; and ended their trip with a visit to the Kennedy Center to see a performance of “The Lion King.”
A highlight of the trip was the National Youth Day rally, where they joined more than 1,600 students representing electric cooperatives from 43 states – a record number.
“We were proud to have McKenna and Jessie representing Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in Washington and proud of Breanna for winning the essay contest. Over and over again, the Youth Tour trip has been referred to as ‘the trip of a lifetime,’ and we hope that it truly was for these exceptional students,” GCEC Manager of Marketing and Communication Kristin Evans said.
The Washington, D. C. Youth Tour Program has been in existence since 1957 when co-ops sent students to Washington, D. C. to work during the summer. By 1964, the program was catching on, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association began to coordinate the efforts of the co-ops. Since then, thousands of young people have experienced this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and learn about our government.
Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative is part of the Touchstone Energy® national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to members large and small. GCEC employees serve approximately 20,000 meters and 2,600 miles of line in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Jackson, Walton and Washington counties and in the municipalities of Wewahitchka, Ebro, White City, Fountain and Southport.