2014 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 1,500 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.

Jackson EMC's 2014 Washington Youth Tour Delegates 

Jackson EMC’s 2014 Washington Youth Tour Delegates, from left to right: Ian McGaughey, Jackson County Comprehensive High School; Zac Adams, Peachtree Ridge High School; Michael Smith, Mountain View High School; and Betsy Barrett, North Hall High School 

The four delegates representing Jackson EMC are:

Zac Adams, Peachtree Ridge High School, Gwinnett County

Betsy Barrett, North Hall High School, Hall County

Ian McGaughey, Jackson County Comprehensive High School

Michael Smith, Mountain View High School, Gwinnett County


Jackson EMC’s Competition Process

Four high school students are selected by Jackson EMC to spend a week in Washington, D.C. for the state’s annual Washington Youth Tour, an all-expenses paid leadership experience 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.   

The process begins with 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 excel in academics, extra-curricular activities, community involvement and leadership abilities. The finalists are also judged on short-answer and essay questions, as well as letters of recommendation. The field is then narrowed to 10 finalists who have in-person interviews before a panel of judges. The four winners earn the top scores.  

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., WYT delegates make two Georgia stops in Atlanta and Warm Springs.  The first stop starts with 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.  Following icebreakers and teambuilding exercises, the trip moves to Warm Springs to see where rural electrification began. They return to Atlanta for more teambuilding and leadership activities before joining their peers from across the country in Washington, D.C. 

“This is a leadership trip of a lifetime for these young people,” says Randall Pugh, 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.  Delegates will visit many historical sites while experiencing the high energy atmosphere in our nation’s capital.”

Since 1965, the Washington Youth Tour has given more than 1,950 Georgia students and more than 50,000 students nationwide, representing 640 of America’s electric cooperatives the opportunity to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Learn more at www.youthtour.coop.

This year’s trip dates are June 12-19, 2014, and the next Washington Youth Tour is June 11-18, 2015.