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By Ella Bruno
Four delegates were chosen to represent Macon Electric Cooperative at the 2022 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour. The delegates chosen, Ella Bruno from Macon R-1 High School, Ava Williams from North Shelby High School, Gentry Perkins and Shelby Stull from Atlanta C-3 High School, were given the “trip of a lifetime.”
The trip spanned from June 13 through June 19 where delegates traveled to Washington, D.C. in order to tour major landmarks and historical places. The trip began as all 93 delegates from across the state made their way to Columbia to attend the welcome reception.
At this event it was revealed that there were six finalists to be interviewed the following week to become the Missouri representative on the Youth Leadership Council. One delegate, Ella Bruno, sponsored by MEC, was selected as one of these finalists. On June 14 the delegates embarked on their flight to Washington, D.C., planning to stay for the next six days.
Upon arrival, they began by touring the MLK, Washington, FDR, and Jefferson Memorials. On June 15, the group presented themselves in matching polos for media day as all delegates had meetings with different congressional representatives. The MEC girls had a planned meeting to see Sam Graves soon after touring the new Eisenhower and WWII Memorials.
MEC and NRECA provided nonstop fun for everyone as all delegates ended the night with a sunset cruise by yacht while gliding down the Potomac River. June 16, was an eye- awakening trip to Arlington National Cemetery and taking a moment of silence to experience the Changing of the Guard.
MEC provided wonderful meals along the way everyday, but this day was extra special as delegates dined at Carmines. The occasion was already well spent, but delegates loaded the buses to see the Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies baseball game.
The next two days were spent experiencing historic landmarks and places such as: the lifestyle and home of George Washington at Mt. Vernon, the Smithsonians, and the White House. Memorials such as: Iwo jima, WW II, Vietnam, Korean, Air Force, and Lincoln Memorials gave an in depth look on the history of the United States.
As the week closed, friendships of a lifetime were made, while the thought of going back home seemed unbearable. Ninety-three delegates and 10 chaperones spent almost every waking hour together and by the end it was safe to say a family was made.
“MEC made this dream possible and one would not trade it for anything,” said Ella Bruno. “If you are a junior in high school and an electric cooperative member, visit one of your classes to talk about a scholarship opportunity, don’t miss out on a ‘trip of a lifetime.’”