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June 16. Day 4. Youth Tour Daily Delegate Blog.



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 1,600 teenagers from more than 48 states participating in the 2014 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 (Brandelyn) 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 Rachel Walden, a delegate from Intercounty Electric Cooperative in Licking, who will represent Missouri on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council.


I (Grant) was proud to see Rachel nominated as our state council member. I met Rachel during our Youth Tour orientation, Youth Leadership Council interviews and we became friends. We also had a great time together on the Potomac River cruise! Rachel will represent Missouri next year at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.


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 (Elizabeth) enjoying every moment here in Washington, D.C.


11:00 a.m. Lunch time! Time to eat like a rock star, or maybe a tired Youth Tour delegate from Silex, Missouri. The Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, D.C. Wow! I (Brandelyn) still can’t believe I’m standing here in our nation’s capital Washington, D.C.


This place is truly amazing! The Hard Rock has two floors of seating surrounded by guitars, drums, clothing, pictures and other band memorabilia displayed. Not to mention speakers and televisions everywhere with music videos being played.


They even have a Presidential Seal mounted on one wall over the stairs!


Too cool! Lonnie was right when he said this placed rocked. Mike went all out for this lunch. The food was great! Once again… Thank you for an awesome Hard Rock lunch Cuivre River Electric! A lot of the delegates enjoyed walking around the Hard Rock Cafe and having their pictures taken with the memorabilia. Half of the Youth Tour delegates purchased t-shirts or pins in the Rock Shop. It was a blast. Most of the delegates are enjoying the down time and air conditioning.


Man are my feet hating me right now. Ha Ha... I will have to visit Hard Rock Cafe in St. Louis and have another Hickory-Smoked Pulled-Pork Sandwich. It rocks!


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. The famous site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. A National Park Ranger gave a riveting narrative of the events surrounding Lincoln’s murder. It's still hard to believe what happened here 149 years ago. We were able to walk around and explore Ford's Theatre. I (Grant) 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 (Gabe) 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 (Elizabeth) 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.




Missouri Youth Tour Delegates Visit The White House.

After Ford’s Theater, we made a quick stop at the White House for our Missouri Youth Tour group shot. I (Elizabeth) 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. 99 students… Smile!  See if you can find me! I'm the one wearing the grey 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!”


Cuivre River Electric Youth Tour Delegates At The White House. 

Here we are! Your Cuivre River Electric Youth Tour delegates Grant Cordell, Elizabeth Citrowske, Brandelyn Martin, Alison Boehmer, Marissa Burch and Gabriel Holtmeyer in front of the White House as we tour our Nation’s Capital. We are truly thankful to the 60,000 members for supporting this educational program and giving us the chance to represent Cuivre River in Washington, D.C.! Thank you!!!


This is a very historic time in our countries history. I (Grant) know times are tough for a lot of people right now, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for the Youth Tour. All of this for taking a few hours to write an essay about the cooperative principles and entering the Cuivre River Youth Tour Contest. I have learned what it means to be a part of a cooperative. Once again, it's time for a Cuivre River Youth Tour group photo in front of the White House.


After that we loaded up the bus and visited the National World War II Memorial. The memorial recently opened in 2004, and is located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.


The National World War II Memorial honors the brave men and women who fought for our freedom and the 400,000 who died fighting for our nation. There are 56 granite pillars surrounding the fountain, each one represents a state or territory that fought during the war. We found the Missouri pillar and had our picture taken to remember our fallen Missourians. Thank you for serving your country.


For dinner, we stopped at the mall of all malls… The Pentagon City Mall! OMG! This mall rules. I (Brandelyn) wish it was in the St. Louis area. They have everything. Not enough time for shopping Mike Marsch! Then, it was time to get back to the memorials and the real reason we came to Washington, D.C.


The Korean War Veterans Memorial features polished black granite walls with more than 2,500 images of soldiers etched into the stone. There are 19 statues of soldiers, each larger than life, patrolling the memorial grounds. This creates a rather unique reflection on the memorials walls.


The memorial is highlighted by a large circular pool, called the Pool of Remembrance, that is bordered by black granite stones that list the number of American soldiers killed, wounded, missing in action and held as a prisoner of war. There is an inscription on one of the walls that reads “Freedom Is Not Free.”


We visited the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial. Pictures do not capture the magnitude of this grand memorial. Unlike the other memorials in Washington, D.C. which rise above the ground level, the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial features two black granite walls that are sunk into the ground.


The two walls stretch more than 250 feet each and contain 144 panels containing the names of more than 58,000 men and women who died for our country. The names seemed to continue forever. All of the war memorials helped me realize the true toll of war and gave me a better appreciation for our service men and women. Thank you for the freedoms I (Gabe) enjoy!


Wow! The sun has set and we are now at the Lincoln Memorial. It is beautiful at this time of the day. Or should I (Marissa) say night? The Reflecting Pool was beautiful with the reflection of the Washington Monument. Oh well, we climbed the stairs and saw the marker where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. What an incredible moment that must have been for the individuals who witnessed this historic event.


We gazed at the 19-foot marble statue of Honest Abe. Wow! What an amazing monument highlighting our 16th President and his famous speeches like the Gettysburg address.


Last stop for the night… The Jefferson Memorial. Wow! You just can’t get over how big the memorials and monuments are until you stand next to one. The Jefferson Memorial is beautiful! A National Park Ranger told us it was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.


The memorial is located at the shore of the Tidal Basin and features a 19-foot bronze statue of our third president. It was Jefferson who penned the Declaration of Independence and oversaw the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 which included Missouri. Yeah!


The memorial’s walls feature excerpts from Jefferson’s writings.


Here is an interesting fact. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson is the only president who never vetoed a bill? Now you do! I (Elizabeth) also learned that this is equally impressive because Thomas Jefferson served two terms in his presidency. Two terms! 1801-1809. Wow!


He also promoted the importance of democracy, freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. It’s largely due to his vision and leadership that we have such a great nation today. Here’s another interesting fact. Jefferson died a few hours before his friend John Adams, the second president of the United States, on July 4th, 1826. Which, by the way, was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.


After returning to the hotel, Mike let us hang out in the hallway and play a few games. A bunch of us ordered pizza and just hung out talking about our hometowns and high schools. This was a blast! Then, we got to bed around 11:30 — pretty early for us. But I’m sure we’ll need the rest for tomorrow. I can't wait for tomorrow! Good night!


Check back later for our posts and pictures… Thanks!


Alison, Brandelyn, Elizabeth, Marissa, Gabriel and Grant



Youth Tour. Back To Menu. Daily Delegate Blog.