Local students travel to U.S. capitol for tour

Students from Lincoln County spent a week in our nation’s capitol as delegates of the 2017 Washington Youth Tour. Will Vanhooser, Fayetteville High School; Jake Kelley, Lincoln County High School; and Will Eldridge, Riverside Christian Academy joined nearly 140 other students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip that began on Friday, June 9. 


The annual event, sponsored by Fayetteville Public Utilities and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capitol, learn about government and cooperatives, and develop their leadership skills. Students were selected for the trip by writing short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives – Going Beyond the Wires” that explain how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power.


“The Youth Tour is an incredible opportunity for these students to experience history up-close and personal,” says CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “Delegates experience a whirlwind of a week, visiting museums, monuments and other landmarks.”


“We take great pride in recognizing the best and brightest from across the state,” said Dye. “By recognizing their accomplishments through programs like the Washington Youth Tour, we show these leaders of tomorrow that their hometown electric co-op is more than a utility provider; these students are active members of their community and fully invested in its prosperity.”

While in Washington, D.C., Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During visits to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the touring Tennesseans saw and experienced natural, historical and artistic treasures. Other fun stops included historic homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — as well as Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a boat cruise down the Potomac River. Among other Youth Tour highlights was a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the group laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.



The group was welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Sen. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation who posed for photos and answered questions.

President Lyndon Johnson inspired the Washington Youth Tour in 1957 when he encouraged electric cooperatives to send young adults to the nation’s capital. In the years since, more than 6,000 young Tennesseans have been delegates on the Washington Youth Tour.