Despite the best efforts of extraordinary teachers across the nation, many students have a difficult time fully understanding and appreciating U.S. history. For that reason, many academics recommend taking students to historical sites where they not only learn history but experience it through interactive exhibits and firsthand accounts.
Earlier this year, Gage Patton from Appling County High School, Hallie Smith from Jeff Davis High School, Hunter Smith from Wayne County High School and Madison Taylor from Bacon County High School were chosen for such a trip and recently returned from the Washington Youth Tour, a week-long leadership experience for teens sponsored by the electric cooperatives in Georgia, including Satilla REMC.
Each year in June, high school students in Georgia join approximately 1,600 of their talented and ambitious peers in Washington, D.C. to learn leadership skills, understand the importance of civic involvement and tour the nation’s historic sites. When combined, the various aspects of the trip provide a unique lesson that cannot be duplicated in any classroom.
“The students come away with a new appreciation for the history of the country they live in, an interest in government and their elected representatives, and a new sense of responsibility when they realize how many people sacrificed for us so we could all live in a free society,” says Sue Johnson, Washington Youth Tour Coordinator, with Satilla REMC.
“We think it’s important to bring along the next generation of young people and teach them the importance of leadership and public service,” says Johnson.
According to Georgia EMC Youth Tour Director Gale Cutler, the purpose of the Youth Tour is to help EMCs promote stronger communities and a stronger nation by giving as many young people as possible the ability and desire to make meaningful, lifelong contributions to their communities.
This year, 106 students and 14 chaperones from Georgia participated in the Tour with a kick-off banquet in Atlanta, emceed by WSB-TV’s Sophia Choi. Before heading to D.C., the group toured the FDR Little White House in Warm Springs, the birthplace of the rural electricity movement.
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