New-Mac sends high school students to Washington D.C.

According to Emily Horine and Kobe Kisling, they both had a trip they’ll never forget while representing New-Mac Electric Cooperative on the annual Youth Tour in Washington D.C.

“It was the trip of a lifetime,” said Kisling. 

Kobe Kisling and Emily Horine represented New-Mac on the 2017 Youth Tour

Horine and Kisling just completed the 11th grade at Seneca and Sarcoxie respectively this past school year, and they were the top prize winners of New-Mac Electric’s Youth Tour/CYCLE Contest. They were awarded an expenses-paid trip to our nation’s capital along with other cooperative representatives from across the country. The third- and fourth-place finishers in New-Mac’s contest (Madison Wade, Seneca, and Michael Lee, Sarcoxie) will participate in CYCLE (Cooperative Youth Conference & Learning Experience), where they will join other Missouri co-op delegates July 12-14 in Jefferson City.

Youth Tour took place June 9-15. Each day the participants had a full itinerary, touring sites such as the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Ford’s Theatre, Iwo Jima Memorial, White House, Mount Vernon Plantation, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums and many more.

“It was kind of overwhelming because we did so much, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world,” said Horine. “It was such an amazing trip.”

The various stops on the tour made profound impressions on both local youths.

“My favorite place that we went to was Arlington National Cemetery,” said Horine. “Just being there, you get a whole different feel of pride and admiration for your country and for the people that are laying down their lives for you every day.”

“The one I liked the best was the Lincoln Memorial,” said Kisling. “It had a lot of meaning to it. Around it there were columns for all the states, and it unified us all together.”

The trip also included Electric Youth Day, which brought together more than 1,600 Youth Tour delegates from across the United States. This event, coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, featured speeches by government leaders and motivational speakers, such as Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympic medalist and two-time world wheelchair basketball champion.

“The trip was really good for us because we learned a lot about the history of the United States, the military, and electric co-ops,” said Horine. “We had some really good speakers come in and talk to us.”
Another highlight, according to the New-Mac representatives, was the interaction they had with the other 104 Missouri delegates.

“I made really close friendships with a lot of people,” said Kisling. “That was something I really enjoyed. I’ve actually been talking to a lot of them since the trip.” 

Missouri sent 106 delegates, picture here at the Lincoln Memorial

Horine had similar thoughts.  “It was really awesome getting to know and befriend these people from all over Missouri, who we’re still talking to now and connected to through social media,” she said.

New-Mac’s Youth Tour/CYCLE Contest is made available each year to high school juniors in 10 school districts served by the cooperative, including Carthage, Diamond, East Newton, Joplin, McDonald County, Neosho, Pierce City, Sarcoxie, Seneca and Wheaton. Contestants write a 400-600 word essay on a topic provided by the co-op, and then finalists are brought in for interviews prior to selection of the winners.

Certainly, the most recent winners believe it’s well worth the effort of writing an essay.

“I would tell (future potential contestants) that they need to go for it,” said Kisling. “It’s definitely worth taking a shot.”

“Write that essay,” said Horine. “Put all you can into it and prepare because you do not want to miss this opportunity.”