Record Youth Tour Delegation Explores Washington

June 29, 2018

During a nighttime tour of the U.S. Capitol, Fatima Figueroa was overcome with emotion. The South Texas teen was there as part of the Government-in-Action Youth Tour and envisioned herself working in that building one day.

“It was definitely eye-opening, and it gave me enthusiasm to go into the future and to work harder now to achieve my goals,” said Figueroa, sponsored by Magic Valley EC and chosen to represent Texas on the national Youth Leadership Council. “Youth Tour 2018 changed my life.”

Life-changing experiences like Figueroa’s, lifelong friends and indelible memories were at the center of conversations when 150 Texas teens—a record number and more than any other state—returned June 14 from the annual 10-day Youth Tour trip, which has been sending teens to Washington, D.C., since 1965. TEC organizes the trip, and the teens, chosen through their local electric cooperatives, meet up with more than 1,800 other teens from across the U.S. as they explore Washington, meet their representatives, and learn about their nation and rural electrification.

Gary Raybon, Wharton County EC general manager and CEO, logged 118,140 steps on his Fitbit as a first-time chaperone. “And I feel every one of them,” he said.

New for the Texas delegation this year were a 2-hour nighttime tour of the Capitol and a visit to the Museum of the Bible. Not new was the genuine sense of family that Youth Tour fosters.

“Just like y’all, when I showed up here, I didn’t know anybody; eight days later I have 164 new friends,” Raybon said. “I learned how amazing it can be for 150 youths to come together, become friends and with one voice represent their communities, their co-ops, and, most importantly, themselves with pride.”

See photos from the Texas delegation’s trip at this link.