Dakota Electric’s community relations and economic development assistant, Wendy Apitz, discusses her experience as a chaperone for Minnesota’s delegation to the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., in June.
What was it like to chaperone Youth Tour?
Youth Tour provided me with a deeper appreciation of our nation’s history. Not only was I pleasantly surprised by the heart of these students, it was fascinating to watch them go from 37 strangers to best friends in 24 hours. I enjoyed learning about American history, government and cooperatives alongside them.
What surprised you about our local youth?
These students are passionate about pursuing vastly different career paths after high school. Whether it’s higher education, technical college or the military, they all recognize the significance of the democratic process and its role in their lives. They were knowledgeable and asked questions to elected officials on policies that concerned the whole of the American public. Youth Tour allowed them a real-life opportunity to see how democracy and politics play out at the local, state and national levels.
Why should students apply to Youth Tour?
Many of these students have only read about U.S. history in textbooks or watched it in movies. As they grow into tomorrow’s leaders, it is crucial they see how the democratic process works first-hand and realize the impact they can have on their own communities. Additionally, the knowledge, entertainment and fun that is packed into a short activity-filled week is why some call Youth Tour “a trip of a lifetime.” I would argue, however, it is not a trip of a lifetime because it’s not long enough. But it is worth it!