2016 Washington Youth Tour

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.

Washington Youth Tour (WYT), JEMC Promo

2016 WYT Overview

Jackson EMC will send four exceptional student delegates on an all-expenses paid leadership trip to Washington, D.C., June 9-16 for the 2016 Washington Youth Tour, sponsored by the electric membership corporations (EMCs).  

The 2016 trip application process is now open.  You can find all the details through your high school leadership/guidance counselor’s office, on this page or by visiting www.facebook.com/JacksonEMC

The 2016 Washington Youth Tour application period has ended. Please check back later this month to find out who will represent Jackson EMC at the Washington Youth Tour. 

2016 WYT Servant Leaders

Meet the young leaders from our community who make up Jackson EMC’s delegation on the Washington Youth Tour.  

Zachary Miles / Junior / Mountain View High School Photo of Zachary Miles, a 2016 Washington Youth Tour delegate.

“Leadership is all about serving others and keeping the people you are leading before yourself.”

Zachary writes articles for the Gwinnett Daily Post and works the anchor desk at Mountain View High School. In addition, he teaches 4th grade religious education at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He helped build an outdoor classroom for a local elementary school. And when two high school students from a neighboring community tragically died in a car accident, he started the “Brown Bag Project” to collect spare change in brown paper bags for the family. He helped raise $692.82.  “I want to help as many people as I can to make a positive impact on the world,” he said.  Zachary is the son of Kristopher and Jennifer Miles of Dacula. He plans to study Broadcast Journalism at Notre Dame.

Photo of Elena Shao, a 2016 Washington Youth Tour delegate.Elena Shao / Junior / Peachtree Ridge High School 

“A leader’s greatest duty is to everyone else around them.”

Elena's in National Honor Society, Beta Club, took two prizes last year in the regional science fair, is first chair violin in the orchestra, CFA Leader Academy, Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, was on the team that raised $50,000 for Relay for Life, wins state-level art awards, takes multiple AP classes each semester and maintains a 4.0 GPA.  What makes her really excited is the work she does at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta.

Photo of Spencer Sumner, a 2016 Washington Youth Tour delegate.Spencer Sumner / Sophomore / Gainesville High School

“Good leaders inspire others to reach their full potential.”

As an Eagle Scout, Spencer Sumner puts the Boy Scouting E.D.G.E. method — explain, demonstrate, guide and enable — to work in all facets of his life. To earn his Eagle award, he led a team of 20 scouts to build shelves for a homeless center so they could organize and store their donations. As a lifeguard at Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, he teaches new swimmers. Serving as president of the Chess Club, he recruits new members and teaches them the game. As treasurer of his high school class, he leads. And as a state qualifier on the varsity swim team, he is surrounded by other athletes who learn from his example of hard work and dedication.  

Georgia Warnock / Sophomore / West Hall High SchoolPhoto of Georgia Warnock, a 2016 Washington Youth Tour delegate.

“A leader doesn’t do things for themselves; they do it for others. A great leader, they see a problem, they find a solution and they step up not for themselves, but for the betterment of the lives around them.”

Georgia currently serves as principal oboe in the symphonic band, principal bassoonist in the concert band and she plays clarinet in the marching band. She also serves as Librarian for the program.  On Wednesday nights, Georgia packs bags for BackPack Love, a nonprofit ministry for kids in Hall County who need food over the weekend. She's both a high school and college student (dual enrolled), member of multiple bands, active church member, lifeguard and tutor, among other things.

Jackson EMC’s Competition Process 

The process begins with 42 high school guidance counselors and/or leadership educators 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 17, 2016. 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 DC, they spend a day in Atlanta. The first activity is a Statewide Dinner/Reception highlighting the achievements of the 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 team building and ice-breaker activities, 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. Delegates will visit many historical sites while experiencing the high energy atmosphere in our nation’s capital.”

Since 1964, the Washington Youth Tour has given more than 50,000 students 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 9-16, 2016.