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Emma MurphyI would first like to thank FreeState for sending me to Washington, D.C. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget. I made new friends from around the state and others from across the country. Youth Tour was a chance to learn about what different co-ops are doing to make a difference in their community, our country, and the world while exploring Washington, D.C.

During my time on this trip, I traveled across Washington, D.C., and Baltimore to learn and experience what our country has fought to have and we today pay our respects to those from our nation’s past. We visited many monuments and museums that were incredible. Some of my favorites were the Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums, the White House, the Holocaust Museum, a riverboat cruise, the National Aquarium, and a Washington Nationals baseball game. 

If I had to share a couple of things I learned or saw from these places I would say seeing the original Dorothy slippers (from “The Wizard of Oz”) in person is number one. I also enjoyed the Holocaust Museum because I went to the traveling exhibit in Kansas City, and going to the national museum made me appreciate the significance of this tragic event even more.

Besides these attractions, the youth delegation also got to listen to an incredible speaker talk about his journey and contributions to electric co-ops. The gentleman, Mat Kilgore, spoke about his trip to Guatemala, where he helped install power lines for a small community. Mat is from the Iowa Lakes Electric Co-op. He shared that it was a tough reality check because he realized how hard life would be without the things he was fortunate to have. Without co-ops, it’s hard to imagine how life would be. No light, TV, heating and cooling, or being able to charge our cell phones! I think it is important to stop, take a minute, and appreciate all the things we are fortunate to have.

I want to say thank you to Aunty Shana, Aunty Shelly, and all the chaperones that took the time to spend eight days with this group of young adults. Their ability to make us laugh and have fun while feeling safe and comfortable contributed greatly to how amazing this trip was. Lastly, another huge thank you to FreeState, who works hard to ensure we have affordable, reliable electricity! I was honored to represent FreeState.