Studies have shown that the regret we feel about things we didn’t experience lasts longer and has a deeper impact than the regret over things we’ve actually done.
If that’s the case, then it’s one more reason to encourage any high school students you know to apply for Washington Youth Tour and Cooperative Youth Summit. They definitely won’t regret it.
Each June, we send four rising seniors to Washington, D.C. for Washington Youth Tour, an all-expenses-paid, once-in- a-lifetime experience. They join dozens of other youth delegates sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives on a six-day tour of our nation’s capital. The students visit historical and educational sites such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. When they go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the students use pencil and paper to create an etching of names on the wall representing soldiers from their hometowns. In addition to the museums, memorials and monuments, the students also spend a day at the U.S. Capitol Building where they tour the complex, visit Congressional offices and meet with staff members.
In July, we sponsor rising high school juniors for Cooperative Youth Summit. For this experience, the students stay in Columbia where they learn about political advocacy and civic duty, meet members of the South Carolina General Assembly and see how co-ops are preparing for our state’s energy future. Prior Cooperative Youth Summit delegates met with Gov. Henry McMaster.
Throughout both trips, the students participate in the Soda Pop Co-op, selling snacks and beverages to one another while learning about the not-for-profit cooperative business model. Some students serve as cooperative board members or are a part of the management team. All students receive cash back as their share of the end-of-trip margins.
Over the years, we’ve received heartwarming notes of gratitude from many of the students we’ve sponsored on these trips. They’ve told us about what they saw and learned and how the trip changed them. Some reconsidered their career plans. Many emerged from the shadows of shyness to make lifelong friends from across the state.
We’re proud to participate in both of these important youth programs. For the students, it can be a life-changing experience. It expands their perspectives, develops good citizenship and creates connections that last a lifetime. For our community, it is an investment in the future that benefits all of us.
The youth trips are open to local high school students in Lynches River’s service territory. To apply, visit our education page. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15.