PowerSouth Youth Tour winners (left to right) Tyra Bradley,
ANDALUSIA, ALA.– What happens when 1,500 of America’s best and brightest students come together for one week in our nation’s capital? The Tour of a lifetime! PowerSouth joined electric cooperatives across the U.S. to send almost 1,600 high school students to Washington, D.C., June 13-18 for the 2015 Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.
Four students – Hannah McCalman from Andalusia High School, Danielle Poore from Opp High School, Tyra Bradley from Elba High School and Chelsey Holland from Pike County High School – were selected as PowerSouth’s 2015 Youth Tour winners. They received an all-expense paid trip to Washington for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour.
“Youth Tour is our way of saying ‘thank you for choosing to be a leader.’” said Wanda Woods, PowerSouth’s Youth Tour Coordinator. “We know in today’s world, it’s difficult to stand up for the right things, and these students do that every day. The program allows students to enhance their leadership skills, encourages teamwork and helps build character.”
The Youth Tour experience provides students with a chance to see history come to life; the tour also gives them an opportunity to connect with other student leaders just like them from across the country.
“Even though the trip allowed me to see and hear from lots of important individuals, I got the chance to meet lots of people that have become my friends,” said Holland. “I have gained precious friendships that range from Alabama to Hawaii. This experience is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
While in D.C., Alabama’s Youth Tour delegation visited many of the major monuments and memorials. They also spent time on Capitol Hill, meeting with Congressman Gary Palmer and legislative assistants from various congressional offices.
“My favorite places we visited were the Arlington Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust Museum made me realize how fortunate I am to not be punished for my beliefs,” said McCalman. “Words cannot describe how humbled and grateful I was as we toured the Arlington Cemetery. Both landmarks were so honorably created to remember the lives that were lost. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. because it was truly an experience of a lifetime.”
The four students were chosen based on their performance on written essays, written tests and an interview competition. PowerSouth has participated in the Youth Tour program for more than 30 years, sponsoring students from Andalusia, Elba, Opp and Pike County high schools.
“The Alabama Youth Tour Program, all-in-all, was the most incredible program I've ever been a part of. I was greatly blessed with a wonderful group of friends from this trip, and I am confident they will be lifelong relationships,” said Poore. “I am very proud to say that my DC experience blessed me in many ways that will not be soon forgotten.”
Youth Tour is just one of the ways PowerSouth is investing in our future leaders. Alabama’s electric co-ops do so much more than provide safe, reliable and affordable power — we are dedicated to improving the futures of students in our community because we know they are next in line to lead the way.
“I have a better understanding of so much more now,” said Bradley. “It was great to be surrounded with friends and people that all wanted the same as I did, to have fun and learn so much.”
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PowerSouth serves the wholesale energy needs of 16 electric cooperatives and four municipal electric systems in Alabama and northwest Florida, with more than a million consumers in 39 Alabama and 10 Florida counties. PowerSouth is dedicated to providing reliable energy at the lowest possible cost to its members.
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