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Southside Virginia high school seniors tour Washington - Independent-Messenger: News

Southside Virginia high school seniors tour Washington

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Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2018 3:28 pm

What do you get when you combine 1,800 of rural America’s best and brightest high-school students, along with hundreds of experienced chaperones, youth leaders and staff from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) for an action-packed week in the nation’s capital? You get NRECA’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour!

Three Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) young people attended the event this year, joining students from ten other Virginia, Maryland and Delaware electric cooperatives to travel to Washington, D.C., for the 54th annual Youth Tour. Representing MEC were Cody Campbell, Lauryn Chappell and Ashley Jones.

Campbell, a rising senior at Park View High School in South Hill, Virginia, says, “Throughout this trip I learned a lot about our nation’s capital and co-ops, met some outstanding people and saw some amazing things . . . There was never a dull moment . . .” He is the son of Janine and Rob Campbell of South Hill, Virginia, and is a member of his local volunteer fire department.

Chappell, a member of the National Honor Society, is the daughter of Jennifer and John Chappell of Crystal Hill, Virginia. She is a rising senior at Halifax County High School in South Boston, Virginia, where she participates in the DECA Club, varsity softball and varsity volleyball. She refers to the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour as “an incredible opportunity” and “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Jones is the daughter of Sherri and David Jones of Red Oak and is a rising senior at Randolph-Henry High School in Charlotte Court House, Virginia. She is a member of the BETA Club and participates in varsity girls soccer. She says, “I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to go on this trip of a lifetime.”

Each year students from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative join hundreds of students from across the country as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour program. They learn about the history of electric cooperatives and our country.

Youth Tour not only gives students a chance to see how electric cooperatives are involved in their communities and see the government in action; it also gives them opportunity to meet with their elected representatives in the House and Senate, tour national monuments, memorials and landmarks, and engage in cultural experiences.

MEC employee Brian Morris, who has served as chaperone on each trip for 16 years, comments, “Electric cooperatives all across the country sponsor students for this annual event because we know that by investing in the youth of today, we are investing in a better tomorrow. Youth Tour instills in these young men and women the importance of civic participation and the contributions each of them can make to society.

“One of many highlights of the trip is to attend the inspirational presentation by Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world champion in wheelchair basketball. He shares the inspiring message, ‘Just because you can’t stand up, doesn’t mean you can’t stand out!’”

Morris adds, “The Youth Tour is an extraordinary trip of a lifetime and a wonderful educational experience.”