6:30 a.m. Good morning from Washington, D.C! This is your wake up call. Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. and checkout is at 9:00 a.m. Be ready! 6:30 A.M.? Wow! We got to sleep in this morning. The Youth Tour chaperones on our trip have been great. Kevin Wheeler from Tri-County Electric Cooperative in Lancaster has been a lot of fun. Thanks Kevin! Not to mention Tim and Alicia Hooton from our very own Cuivre River Electric Cooperative! They were the best. Thanks Tim and Alicia!
I (Zabada) can’t believe it’s over! Although I’m exhausted, our time in Washington DC really flew by. We’ve created so many memories, and I know I’ll cherish them forever.
We had our last Youth Tour breakfast this morning with delegates from Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Tried to jam everything into my baggage but can’t explain how I now need another piece of luggage? How many “I Love DC” t-shirts did I (Samantha) buy? Ha Ha!
8:30 a.m. We loaded our baggage onto the buses and said goodbye to the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City. What an incredible hotel and home for five nights! We got on the odd bus, which rules by the way, at 9:30 am and counted off to make sure everyone was on board Mr. D’s bus.
After setting another Youth Tour count-off record we took off to headed down the road and passed the Pentagon. You can see a difference in the color of the repaired Pentagon walls where the American Airlines Flight 77 hit on September 11, 2001. Everyone knows where they were when this event happened.
Finally, we arrived at the Ronald Reagan National Airport at 9:30 a.m. After going through security about a dozen times and getting patted down by the TSA they finally let us go through.
Mike gave us some more money to purchase lunch in the food court. Looks like a lot of the delegates chose the pizza or sub shop.
12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Houston. We have a problem. We got on the plane… Well some of us got on. A couple of delegates had an issue with their tickets. Mike Marsch to the rescue. He really is Superman! Apparently, there was a problem with some of the Youth Tour delegates return tickets to St. Louis. They were given tickets to Dallas, Texas and their luggage was sent to the wrong aircraft as well. Not good…
The Southwest Airlines crew worked to correct the issue and made sure everyone and their luggage was on the correct plane. Just a slight delay. Everyone wanted to stay in Washington, D.C. anyway! Sorry Mom. Count off 1, 2, 3…87! All Missouri Youth Tour delegates and thirteen chaperones accounted for. Southwest Airlines Flight # 3771 now cleared for takeoff on runway bravo niner. 12:30 p.m. we thundered down the Ronald Reagan National Airport runway and started our flight back to St. Louis. Here we come Missouri!
I must say the flight from Washington to St. Louis was an experience. Let’s just say it was a little bumpier... If you can call it that. Zabada just said it was turbulence. Whatever, it was not what I expected and not like our first flight. However, the view was spectacular! This made up for the rough sections. Yes, this is only my second flight!
Everyone was having a fun time and the Southwest Airline Flight Attendants were a blast. We were taking pictures and moving around when the seatbelt sign was off. We were now free to move about the cabin... Sounds like a commercial. Ha Ha! Enjoyed a Coke with a smile at 36,000 feet. Shared my peanuts with my new friends. Even traded a few for some of their cookies.
An hour and 40 minutes later, we touched down in St. Louis. Lonnie Tucker was there to meet us! He is awesome! Thanks Lonnie! I hugged many of my friends and said goodbye... Several times!
I (Zabada) really can’t believe how close this group has grown in such a short time! We saw so many unbelievable sights together, experienced new things and laughed through most of it.
I (Samantha) plan to keep in touch with many of them, and I hope we have a reunion one day soon.
I (Rachel) thought this was definitely the trip of a lifetime! I still can’t believe I had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for a week and see and experience so many wonderful things for writing an essay about cooperative principles. Thank you Cuivre River Electric!
Here is a picture of our Cuivre River Electric Cooperative Youth Tour delegates at the St. Louis baggage claim. Mike Marsch was great! He made everyone feel like one huge family.
We really appreciate all of the work Mike, Chris and Nikki put into making this the best trip ever!
Hey Missouri! Hey Mike! 1, 2, 3, 4... We loaded up the Yukon and hit the road. We talked about everything we saw while in Washington, D.C. WOW! I still can't believe we spent a week in our nation’s capital!
Time for one more picture with our new friends. Ok maybe a few more. Maybe a few more with this person. Now I need a picture with that one and this one... Just one more picture Lonnie!
Okay. Maybe one more picture of our 2013 Missouri Youth Tour name badges. They have been with us every step of the way for the last seven days and six nights. From Jefferson City to St. Louis to Washington, D.C. Every monument and museum. The White House and U.S. Capitol. Not to mention, just about every sidewalk in the D.C. area and stairs, stairs, stairs and more stairs. Did I mention stairs!
Our name badges are covered with Youth Tour state pins that we traded with the other delegates during the Youth Tour Conference. Let’s see if you can find the California pin? Only a few people found this one!
I’ll (Kelsey) forever be grateful to my electric cooperative, Cuivre River Electric, for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to the Cuivre River Electric Board of Directors, General Manager and CEO Dan L. Brown, Mary Jane Clark and the 60,000 Cuivre River member/owners.
I (Melissa) now know and truly understand what a cooperative is all about. I hope to one day become a cooperative member/owner and share in this amazing principle. A special “Thank You” goes out to Lonnie Tucker for making our summer one of the best summers ever! Thanks to Mike Marsch and everyone at the Association of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives for making this trip to Washington, D.C. possible. It was truly the trip of a lifetime! Thank you!
Your 2013 Youth Tour Delegates: Kelsey, Mary, Melissa, Rachel, Samantha and Zabada