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Wayne County students benefit from RECC annual trip to Washington D.C.

Wayne County students benefit from RECC annual trip to Washington D.C.

Two Wayne County High School students were fortunate to represent South Kentucky RECC in
Washington, D.C. this summer.

“When you hear about South Kentucky RECC investing in the communities we serve, it’s not
just in electrical infrastructure, economic development or the local events we support. Our
commitment to community is all about our members,” said South KYRECC Spokesperson Joy

In June, local Seniors Mackenzie Crabtree and Rachel Rains were among 12 area high school
seniors that joined 77 other Kentucky electric co-op students for a weeklong program where they
learned about the political process, interacted with elected officials and gained an up-close
understanding of American history.

The Kentucky Rural Electric Washington Youth Tour is an annual, weeklong, all-expenses-paid
trip to Washington, D. C., which is open to select high school juniors going into their senior year
whose homes are served by electric cooperatives. South Kentucky RECC’s mission statement
says that the co-op will work to “improve the quality of life in its communities.” An important
way that the co-op feels it can improve the quality of life is through its youth, and one way is by
participating in the Washington Youth Tour each year.

The students from South Kentucky RECC joined more than 1,800 of rural America’s best and
brightest high schoolers representing electric cooperatives across America. Now in its 54th year,
the youth tour educates the delegates about the issues facing co-ops, encouraging them to come
home to Kentucky and help lead the co-ops in the future.

“I highly recommend everyone to apply and see where it leads you, because this trip is so worth
it,” says Rachel Rains of Wayne County High School.

“I created unbreakable bonds with youth from all over Kentucky. The friendships I made during
my week in Washington, D.C., will always be cherished,” says Charley Morgan of McCreary
Central High School.

The busy itinerary for the delegation included visits to national monuments, Smithsonian
museums, the National Archives, the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and the National Cathedral. While at Arlington National Cemetery, the Kentucky students, including Abby Turner of Clinton
County High School, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

“I’m beyond grateful I had the opportunity to go on youth tour. South Kentucky RECC has
given me the trip of a lifetime,” says Turner.

WCHS Senior Mackenzie Crabtree said her favorite places were Arlington Cemetery the Battle
of Imogina Monument, Smithsonian Museum, and the Newseum. She was surprised by how
many frightening episodes have happened in American history through displays she observed.

She was disappointed by the lack of interest in what some of the speakers were referring to in the
Capitol regarding agriculture. “I’m an advocate for agriculture and people don’t realize how
important it is because they have other things on their minds. It is sad that so many people do not
even know where their food comes from,” said Crabtree.

“I got a lot out of this experience,” said Crabtree. “I’ll probably never get another opportunity
like I had on the trip to see so many points of interest in D.C.”

“My favorite part of the trip was being at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, hearing Taps and
seeing the president’s helicopter fly over Washington, D.C., in the distance. It was one of those
moments that gives you that sense of American pride,” adds Bryson Bryant of McCreary Central
High School.

Another highlight of the Washington Youth Tour is the opportunity for South Kentucky RECC
students to interact with Kentucky’s congressional delegation, including Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Brett Guthrie, Andy Barr, Thomas
Massie, James Comer and Hal Rogers.

“Meeting politicians who serve as our voice in D.C. has inspired me to become more active and
energized in my community involvement. I will forever be grateful of this opportunity given by
South Kentucky RECC,” says Jesse Olmstead of Pulaski County High School.

The tour was led by Mary Beth Dennis of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and 11 chaperones
from Kentucky co-ops, including Alan Coffey of South Kentucky RECC.

“Our goal this week is to foster a new era of leadership and cultivate a culture of service to
shape the future of these students who will go on to create change in their communities,” shares

“I look forward to bringing a new perspective on our great nation back to my school and
community,” adds Hunter Burkhead of Pulaski County High School.

Kentucky Electric Cooperatives has been coordinating the tour for Kentucky co-ops since 1972,
when 18 students and four chaperones made the trip.

“I highly recommend everyone to apply and see where it leads you, because this trip is so worth
it,” says Rachel Rains of Wayne County High School.

"It is an investment in our co-op youth and the future of the co-ops themselves," says Chris
Perry, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives president and CEO. "We are so proud of these students.
They impress us with their passion for their communities and our nation, and they give us hope
for the future." 

The students that attended the tour to Washington, D.C., were:

Rachel Sawyers, Clinton County High School
Abigail Turner, Clinton County High School
Bryson Bryant, McCreary Central High School
Charley Morgan, McCreary Central High School
Hunter James Burkhead, Pulaski County High School
Jesse Olmstead, Pulaski County High School
Ashlyn Ing, Russell County High School
Skyla Lawless, Russell County High School
K’LeAnn Morgan, Somerset High School
Nadia Flynn, Southwestern High School
Mackenzie Crabtree, Wayne County High School
Rachel Rains, Wayne County High School
If your student is going to be a high school junior this year, they can apply for the 2019
Washington Rural Electric Youth Tour beginning in January. Applications are available at the
guidance offices of high schools within the South Kentucky RECC service territory.


Students attending the Washington Youth Tour from the South Kentucky
RECC service territory included
(L-R) Front row: Ashlyn Ing, Russell County High; Abigail Turner, Clinton County High; Charley Morgan, McCreary Central High; Skyla Lawless, Russell County High; Rachel Rains, Wayne County High, Rachel Sawyers, Clinton County High; K’LeAnn Morgan, Somerset High

Back row: Alan Coffey, South Kentucky RECC Member Services and Marketing Manager; Hunter James Burkhead, Pulaski County High School; Nadia Flynn, Southwestern High; Bryson Bryant, McCreary Central High; Jesse Olmstead, Pulaski County High; and Mackenzie Crabtree, Wayne County High.

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