2015 Washington Youth Tour

Once a year, Jackson EMC sends area high school students to represent the co-op on the prestigious Washington Youth Tour.

The trip brings together more than 1,600 highly talented, ambitious young people from across the country for an incredible week in the nation's capital to further develop their leadership skills and ambitions. 

The Washington Youth Tour (WYT) is sponsored nationally by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and statewide by Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (GEMC).

As Georgia’s oldest leadership program for teens, the Washington Youth Tour teaches high school students about U.S. history, government and the importance of public service. The tour inspired by former president Lyndon Johnson who, in 1957, encouraged electric cooperatives to send youngsters to the nation’s capital where they can actually see what the flag represents.

2015 Jackson EMC’s Washington Youth Tour (WYT) Delegates

Jackson EMC will send four exceptional student delegates on an all-expenses paid leadership trip to Washington, D.C., June 11-18 for the 2015 Washington Youth Tour, sponsored by the electric membership corporations (EMCs). 

The WYT competition allows the cooperative to recognize emerging leaders in area high schools and further develop these qualities through the trip of a lifetime. 

Jackson EMC’s 2015 Washington Youth Tour Delegates, from left: Gwinnett County High School students Chris Larkins, Dacula; Kristen Gomez, Mill Creek; Kirtan Parekh, North Gwinnett; and Emily Bauer, Brookwood


The four delegates representing Jackson EMC are:

Emily Bauer, Brookwood High School

Kristen Gomez, Mill Creek High School

Chris Larkins, Dacula High School

Kirtan Parekh, North Gwinnett High School

Jackson EMC’s Competition Process

The process begins with 48 high school guidance counselors and teachers in our service areas selecting a student from each school to compete for a spot on the trip. Applicants should have excelled in academics, extra-curricular activities, community involvement and leadership abilities. Applicants are also judged on short-answer and essay questions, as well as letters of recommendation. 

Once the field narrows, a panel of community volunteers will interview the top ten finalists on Thursday, March 19, 2015. The four winners earn the top scores after the interviewing process. The competition is designed to reward well-rounded high school sophomores and juniors with leadership potential or experience, in their schools and communities.

The Washington Youth Tour 

Before the Georgia delegates take to the sky en route to D.C., they spend a day in Atlanta. The first activity is a Statewide Dinner/Reception highlighting the achievements of the more than 100 participating high school students from across the state who earned the trip to our nation’s capital. Before joining their peers from across the country in Washington, D.C., they participate in icebreakers and teambuilding exercises, as well as learn more about leadership, cooperatives and how rural electrification began.

“This is a leadership trip of a lifetime for these young people,” says Chip Jakins, Jackson EMC president/CEO. “The WYT is an opportunity for exceptional students to have a jam-packed backstage pass to our nation’s capital, to personally meet with members of Georgia’s congressional delegation and cement their leadership skills and ambitions. The delegates will visit many historical sites, museums and landmarks while experiencing the high energy atmosphere in our nation’s capital.”

Since 1964, the Washington Youth Tour has given more than 50,000 students nationwide (1,950 Georgia students), representing 640 of America’s electric cooperatives the opportunity to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Learn more about the national program at www.youthtour.coop.

This year’s trip dates are June 11-18, 2015, and the next Washington Youth Tour is June 9-16, 2016.