2016 WASHINGTON YOUTH TOUR
The Washington Youth Tour is Georgia's oldest leadership program for teens. In 1965, the inaugural year of Georgia's involvement in the WYT, a dozen students participated in the trip. Since then, more than 3,000 teens have been sponsored by EMCs in Georgia and given the opportunity to experience this prestigious leadership event. Each year the students return from the trip to share stories of the trip's impact on their life.
Altamaha EMC's 2016 delegates - Jacey Thomas, Toby Upshaw and Maria Velasquez - took advantage of every minute as they navigated through the seven-day adventure. Unlike a school or church youth group trip, where most of the young people are acquainted with one another, the WYT knits together 114 delegates who have never met.
"I was so amazed at everything about this trip," Upshaw says. "Meeting and spending time with the other delegates was a very important part of this trip. We all made incredible bonds and friendships."
The WYT is designed to expose delegates to leadership lessons they can use throughout their lives.
This trip taught me the importance of being open to new ideas and truly listening to what other people have to say," says Thomas. "The tour helped me realize just how significant one person can be in the history of a nation. I have a newfound respect for others and for our country."
The one word Velasquez used to describe the trip was "indescribable." She says,
"The experiences, laughs and tears I shared among new, lifelong friends can't be described in words. I always knew I wanted to make a positive change in my community, but through this tour I realized that my aspirations can go way beyond the borders of my small town."
THE WASHINGTON YOUTH TOUR - INVESTING IN AMERICA'S FUTURE
"Send youngsters to the nation's capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents," said U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association annual meeting in Chicago in 1957. Electric cooperatives across the country accepted that challenge and have been sending students to Washington, D.C., ever since.
The Washington Youth Tour (WYT) has given 3,000 students in Georgia and more than 50,000 students nationwide the opportunity to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. In fact, 1,700 exceptional students from all over the United States descended upon the nation's capital in June 2016 to take part in the annual WYT. Georgia's electric cooperatives sent 114 delegates on the weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip.
Our country has experienced many changes since 1957 when Johnson's remarks formed the foundation for the WYT. As a result, understanding what the flag stands for and represents is more important than ever. Altamaha EMC is proud to participate in a trip that provides this opportunity to our future leaders.
MEET THE 2016 ALTAMAHA EMC DELEGATES
Altamaha EMC's delegates were carefully selected through a rigorous application process. Any junior or senior who attends a high school in Altamaha EMC's seven-county service territory is eligible to apply for the Washington Youth Tour. All applicants receive a study packet containing information on the history of rural electrification in America, facts about Altamaha EMC, energy conservation, electrical safety and green power. After a two-week study period, the applicants are given a written exam over the study packet material. The 10 students who score the highest on the written exam advance to the final level of the competition, a personal interview session. The score on their interview is averaged together with the grade from their written test. The three students with the highest average are selected to represent Altamaha EMC on the tour.
Jacey Thomas is a senior at Montgomery County High School and has been accepted to the University of Georgia where she will begin in the fall. The daughter of Julie Adams and Jamie Thomas, Jacey participates in FFA, 4-H, Beta Club and Student Council. She is a varsity cheerleader, an honor roll with excellence student and enjoys competing in pageants. Jacey is a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church. Along with attending college, her plans include becoming a doctor.
Toby Upshaw is a senior at Robert Toombs Christian Academy. The son of James and Leigh Upshaw, Toby plays football and basketball and is a member of the track team. He participates in Y-club, FCA, one-act play and literary competition.
Toby attends Connection Church. After high school, Toby plans to pursue a college degree in business.
Maria Velasquez graduated in 2016 from Toombs County High School and is now a freshman at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
Maria is the daughter of Maria Velasquez and Sergio Maldonado. Maria's high school activities included FBLA, TSA, Spanish Club and Math Club. She is a member of Cobb Creek Baptist Church.
>>Click here to download The Washington Youth Tour 2016 Application
PO Box 346 - Lyons, GA 30436
Each year, Altamaha EMC selects three local students to represent our area on the Washington Youth Tour. The dates for the 2017 tour are June 8-15. All high school juniors and seniors who are interested in this opportunity can obtain information by contacting our Washington Youth Tour Coordinator, Tammye Vaughn. She can be reached by phone at 912-526-2120 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps you know of an exceptional student who would be a great candidate for the program. If you do, please share this information with them.
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