Washington, D.C. Youth Tour Recap

Hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Washington D.C. Youth Tour introduces students to the nation’s capital with tours of museums and historical monuments, meetings with Colorado congressional delegations, and fun-filled activities.

This year, we proudly sent four deserving local youth leaders to join in on the fun. We sat down with two of the attendees to hear more about what they gained from the experience.

Connor Hoffman

2023 Basalt High School Graduate

Zaida Weems

2023 Eagle Valley High School Graduate

What activities did you participate in at the Youth Tour to D.C.?

Connor – The Youth Tour was amazing. I learned so much about electrical cooperatives and the political process I never would have otherwise learned, all while meeting an amazing group of students from Colorado, Wyoming, and so many other states!

Zaida – Activities on the youth tour included a little bit of everything. We did a lot of touristy things over the course of the 5 days, and saw most of the bucket list memorials and museums. Some of my favorites were the holocaust museum, the Vietnam war memorial, and the 9/11 memorial at the pentagon. I kept calling the trip a “sample of DC” because although we did so much, you would need multiple more weeks to explore everything. Aside from the touristy things, we had a few really unique experiences, like getting to meet the Colorado congressional representatives.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Connor – My favorite part was exploring the US capitol building. I had no idea there were so many offices and extensions connected by underground tunnels. It’s incredible to imagine what processes happen in that incredible complex.

Zaida – My favorite part of the trip was the river cruise. I don’t get to go on boats very often so it was really special to me to get to experience the night with new friends. Along the river are very beautiful colleges, estates, and industrial buildings. I had fun comparing to Google maps to figure out what the buildings were and seeing things from a different perspective.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned?

Connor – The importance of outreach. We often talk about government and corporations in schools, but that is nothing in comparison to traveling to the place it happens, seeing all the work going on, and talking directly to the politicians that represent you. This was something only a trip like this revealed.

Zaida – One of the most important lessons that Youth Tour taught is how you can be more involved. During NRECA youth night, we had multiple speakers from different backgrounds explain how they’ve created change. One of the common things between them was that they were passionate about an issue. This was not only demonstrated during youth night, but throughout the whole trip. I learned that passion fuels leadership, and it shows in DC.

What would you say to other students who might be interested in attending the Tour in the future?

Connor – Do it! The group of students you travel with are passionate about what they do and are the best kind of people. I met some life long friends in my time. You also get an experience few others ever have the chance to take, like speaking directly to your representatives in the place they work.

Zaida – This trip has something for everyone. It teaches youth a variety of skills and information regarding electrical cooperatives, leadership, and the history of our country. It’s hard for me to put into words how this trip has impacted me, but it has truly changed my view of the world. When I think about what I experienced on youth tour, I’m filled with inspiration and the itching need to make a change.