Justin German of Imperial attended the Rural Electric Youth Tour in Washington D.C., June 14-21. He was selected and sponsored by Highline Electric Association, headquartered in Holyoke, Colo.
The son of Eric and Brenda German, he will be a senior at Chase County High School this fall.
Twenty-six youths from Colorado and Nebraska representing 18 co-ops joined 1,540 youths from across the country in D.C. to learn more about government, U.S. history and rural electrification.
The tour started in Denver by touring Tri-State Generation and Transmission where they learned about co-ops, electricity and the differences between local, state and federal government. While in Denver they also toured the state capitol.
Instilling a patriotic spirit, and understanding this nation’s history is an important part of the youth tour, and students learned about the sacrifices many Americans have made for freedom. There is no better way to understand this sacrifice then by visiting the many memorials dedicated to this struggle in Washington D.C.
Additional activities included seeing the White House, a cruise down the Potomac River, and they attended the play, “Memphis,” at the Kennedy Center.
In Washington the students participated in a congressional simulation that taught them about the difficulty and consequences of decision-making. Then they were off to Capitol Hill where they met with Colorado Senators Bennet and Udall, and Representatives Polis and Tipton. They also met with Rep. Gardner’s legislative team.
On youth day, David Landis, a former Nebraska state senator, portrayed U.S. Representative George Norris (deceased) who was an early advocate of rural electrification.
Mike Schlappi, a four-time U.S. Paralympics medalist paralyzed by an accidental gunshot at 14 years old, inspired the students by letting them know they matter, that community is important and that even though he couldn’t stand up, he could stand out.
The youths came away with a better appreciation of the freedoms in this country and the men and women who bravely fought for those freedoms. They have a better understanding of the legislative process and the importance of getting involved and standing up for issues important to their lives, and they have a better understanding about electric cooperatives and the role they play in the communities they serve.
German said, “This trip was an awe-inspiring trip. It showed me the sacrifices that it took to make our country the greatest country in the entire world. A very cool memorial that stood out to me on the trip was the F.D.R. Memorial because he was a president that was elected four times to office and had to make some of the toughest decisions ever in his terms.
“I would like to thank Highline Electric for sending me on this trip it was an amazing trip and I got to meet so many amazing people,” he said.