Mike said we would learn more about our local electric cooperative, and this morning we sure did. Today was “Youth Day” on the Youth Tour (I thought VERY day was Youth Day!) All the delegates from each participating state gathered in one big room for an assembly. We sat next to Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Must be a Southern thing... Missouri Youth Tour Rules!
There are more than 1,700 teenagers from more than 48 states participating in the 2015 Youth Tour. We were all encouraged to cheer for our state and make a lot of noise (MIZ-ZOU-RAH at appropriate times, of course). I (Hannah) made sure everyone knew who and where the Missouri delegation was seated by leading our group. Cuivre River would be proud.
You should have heard all those kids shout! Missouri made a lot of noise when they introduced Lexi Jackson, a delegate from White River Valley Electric Cooperative in Branson, who will represent Missouri on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council.
I (Alexandra) was proud to see Lexi nominated as our state council member. I met Lexi during our Youth Tour orientation and we became friends. We also had a great time together on the Potomac River cruise! Lexi will represent Missouri next year at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting next February in New Orleans.
It was an interesting and inspiring morning. We heard from Randy Dwyer, the head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour, who told us a little about his group’s efforts to represent America’s 900 local electric cooperatives. We also learned about the early days of public power and rural electrification.
The highlight of the morning was a speech by wheelchair athlete Mike Schlappi. The speech was inspiring, sad, funny, educational and entertaining all at once. Did you know that people have 11 negative thoughts per every positive thought? Most people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone. Mike was a normal teenager just like all of us when he was accidentally shot by his best friend.
Mike Schlappi told us how he overcame the emotional hurt of his injury, and how he’s went on to live an exciting and full life in spite of his physical injury. How you might ask? Mike Schlappi followed his dream and passion for basketball. Basketball? That’s right! Mike Schlappi won 2 Paralympics Gold Medals (1988 Seoul & 1992 Barcelona) and 2 Bronze Medals (1996 Atlanta & 2000 Sydney).
I think his motto “If you can’t stand up, stand out” is the greatest, and everyone, disabled or not, can be inspired by his personal story.
The speakers were great today! I’m (Alexa) enjoying every moment here in Washington, D.C.
11:00 a.m. Lunch time! Time to eat like a VIP, or maybe a tired Youth Tour delegate from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri. Carmine’s in Washington, D.C. Wow! I (Hannah) still can’t believe I’m standing here in our nation’s capital Washington, D.C.
Carmine’s is truly amazing! Mike went all out for this lunch. Carmine's is a family-style restaurant featuring some of the finest Southern Italian cuisine in Washington, D.C. Youth Tour delegates ordered platters of home-style antipasto, pasta, seafood, meat entrees, and of course homemade desserts like the Italian cheesecake and strawberry shortcake! Yum! The portions are extremely large and meant to be shared with family and friends. Friends? I have 97 new friends from Missouri!
The food was great! Once again… Thank you Cuivre River Electric for an awesome lunch at Carmine’s. It was fantastic! Most of the delegates are enjoying the down time and air conditioning.
Next up on our Youth Tour itinerary…More Smithsonian Museums! The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest collections of American art in the world. Masterpieces from more than 7,000 master artists are on display here.
Artists like John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Georgia O'Keeffe to name a few. These paintings were absolutely beautiful!
Thomas Benton Hart's Achelous and Hercules mural was a featured work. Thomas who you might ask? Hart painted several murals in the Missouri State Capitol. The painting highlights a mythical harvest scene from the old Midwest featuring a raging bull. Did you know that Achelous is the Greek god who ruled the rivers? Now we both know.
Next on the itinerary… Ford’s Theatre. This is the most famous theatre in the United States and the location where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. A National Park Ranger gave a riveting narrative of the events surrounding Lincoln’s murder. It's still hard to believe what happened here 150 years ago. We were able to walk around and explore Ford's Theatre. I (Sarah) tried to imagine what it must have been like on that evening when President Lincoln was shot.
The Ford's Theatre Museum contains Booth's Derringer pistol used in the assassination and President Lincoln's clothing from that night. It was hard to look at the clothing knowing what happened to the man wearing this outfit. Stains of Lincoln's blood are still visible of the articles of clothing. I (Hannah) wish we had more time to view the rest of the museum and the artifacts.
We walked across the street to the Petersen House and visited the room where President Lincoln died on April 15, 1865. It was hard for me (Alexa) to stand there and think about what took place in this room, and how it made history and changed the course of our nation.
Did you know that Ford’s Theatre remained closed for more than 100 years after President Lincoln’s assassination. Ford’s Theatre officially reopened in 1968 as a national historic site and working theater. “One Destiny”, a theatre production recounting Lincoln’s assassination from two men, Actor Harry Hawk and Ford’s Theatre co-owner Harry Ford, who both witnessed the assassination, is currently showing with two performances each day. I (Alexandra) wish we could see this production.
After Ford’s Theater, we made a quick stop at the White House for our Missouri Youth Tour group shot. I (Madison) still can’t believe that I am actually standing in front of the White House. What an amazing feeling! You always see the White House on television and in the movies, but the White House is much larger than I expected. Anyway, time for our Youth Tour group photo in front of the White House. 97 students… Smile! See if you can find me! I'm the one wearing the purple shirt. Ha Ha!
Who knows… Maybe President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama are looking out at us right now. Smile and say “Youth Tour!”