Youth Tour Trip to DC Inspires Students
Cooperative-sponsored week in Washington proves to be trip of a lifetime for teens
Jazmin Rodriguez from Reagan County High School and Katelyn Gamez from Eldorado High School are back home from the 2022 Government-in-Action Youth Tour, and the experience is surely one they will never forget. The 10-day trip, sponsored by Southwest Texas Electric Cooperative, took the local students on a whirlwind adventure from Austin to Washington, D.C., which they both describe as "amazing" and "eye-opener." SWTEC Youth Tour Coordinator Neil Cooper says it's so inspiring to see the difference in the participants at the start of the trip compared to the end. "When we drop off the participants in Austin at the beginning of the trip, they are nervously excited about meeting new people and anxious about flying somewhere like Washington DC. Sometimes, it's their first time to fly on a plane or even traveling outside of Texas. When we pick them up at the end of the trip, it's fun to hear about their experiences on such a trip, but it's also interesting to see in them a newfound confidence and respect for things around them and this country."
For Jazmin and Katelyn's June trip to the nation's capital, they joined more than 150 peers from all over the state for a guided, all-expense paid tour that even a seasoned tourist would envy. They visited museums and memorials, took a cruise on the Potomac River, witnessed a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and joined more than 1,900 other teens from across the country for a day and inspiring speakers and learning about the role of electric cooperatives. They even met with their congressional representatives.
"Definitely a really, really fun trip and I would go a million times again if I was able. There were so many awesome things about this trip from meeting some new people that I can truly call close friends now, to seeing the museums and monuments, and meeting, talking, and getting a tour of the US Capital from our US Congressman Tony Gonzales. I think my favorite was seeing the Lincoln Memorial. There was just so many neat things on this trip and it was definitely a trip of a lifetime."
Katelyn Gamez, Eldorado High School
"While growing up, you see these things in Washington DC on television and in our history books, but then to get to see them first-hand, walk in and around them, and touch them, it's just so amazing and educational. I also really enjoyed getting to know the other Youth Tour participants from the other Texas cooperatives and making new friends. You know, living in a small town like Big Lake and then going on a trip like this, it's something I'll never forget and it's made some real lasting impressions on me."
Jazmin Rodriguez, Reagan County High School