Hands-on America

50th annual Youth Tour connects nation's past and present to its future

Posted on Jul 16 2009 in Features, For Youth

‘Freedom is not free” is a quote engraved on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The price is evident on Washington’s war memorials all along the mall and on each white stone marker up the hillside across the Potomac River at Arlington National Cemetery.

And our democratic republic form of government also comes with a price. To survive and thrive, it requires hands-on attention and participation by an informed citizenry.

Each summer, Indiana’s electric cooperatives take a group of incoming high school seniors to Washington to learn firsthand about the costs our freedom and government require, about co-ops, and a little more about themselves. This year’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, June 11-18, the 50th for Indiana, included a record number 78 students from around the state.map

The group gathered at the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives June 11 and left for the nation’s capital on June 12 in two motor coaches. Along the way was a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield and a stop at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Then it was on to Washington for sightseeing; meetings with Congressmen; dancing and mingling with some 1,500 Youth Tour participants from other states; and touring the museums and monuments. (SEE PHOTO GALLERY BELOW!)

This year’s trip included a tour of the C-SPAN studio near Capitol Hill and meeting Brian Lamb, C-SPAN’s chairman and CEO (and a native Hoosier). The tour also included a stop at the recently re-opened Newseum, a museum dedicated to the “fourth estate,” journalism and news gathering.

Seven of Indiana’s participants became “accidental tourists,” venturing to the Ukraine via Georgetown. Youth Tour participants had an evening of sightseeing the upscale neighborhood of shops and restaurants in small groups one evening at dinner time. The seven stopped to rest on some steps that turned out to be the Ukrainian Embassy. Embassy officials invited them inside for the opening of an art exhibition where they met the artist, Ukrainian officials and a high-ranking bishop with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

During a Youth Day Rally, the 1,500 participants heard about issues that could affect the affordability of electricity. Keynote speaker Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympics medalist for the United States, offered a moving message of perseverance in the face of life’s challenges.

Also during the tour, Blake Kleaving, a Perry Central High School student from Tell City, who was sponsored by Southern Indiana Power, was selected as Indiana’s representative on the Youth Leadership Council. He was chosen from the two dozen applicants by chaperones — with the help of two 2006 Youth Tour alumni who dropped by during the interviews the first evening in Indianapolis.

Through YLC, Blake will head back to Washington this month for more leadership training. He will also attend the national electric cooperative meeting in Atlanta in February.

Tanner McCartney, sponsored by Tipmont REMC, was selected as the alternate.
Also on tour with the group this year was Brian Karle, a 2005 Youth Tour alum. He is the first of a new program that invites former participants to serve as chaperones. His dad, Andy Karle, is a lineman for Tipmont REMC. He also served as a chaperone. Other chaperones were four staff members of Indiana Statewide, which coordinates the trip, and a spouse: Lynn Moore, Tracie Trent, Katy Stegall and Richard Biever, and Scott Moore.

Youth Tour 2009 participants

The following 78 incoming high school school seniors participated in the 50th annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., listed by their sponsoring cooperative.

Bartholomew County REMC: Adam Fischer, Alison Sullivan
Boone REMC: Andrew Adams; Kaitlyn Large
Central Indiana Power: Keegan Vail
Clark County REMC: Christopher Cissell, Elizabeth Dickson, Kala Dieterlen, Matthew Duncan, Joe Edens, Lindsay Krohn, Sarah Martin, Chris Radford
Daviess-Martin County REMC: Paige Harrawood
Decatur County REMC: Clair Metz, Megan Riedeman
Dubois REC: Kurt Lueken
Fulton County REMC: Evan Daily, Taylor Daugherty
Harrison REMC: Chelsey Lloyd, Irina Miralda
Hendricks Power Cooperative: Callie Fehr
Jackson County REMC: Spencer Roberts, David Wells II, Adelea Willman
Jasper County REMC: Jake Bifoss, Hannah Harper, Casey Nesius
Johnson County REMC: Kayleigh Clear, Alicia Denney, Maggie Fikes
Kankakee Valley REMC: Kristine Adamiec, Alexander Atwood, Anna Boulé, Megan Kaczmarski, Heather Pick, Kassandra Saylor, Brittany Sievers
Kosciusko REMC: Holly Kolberg, Jessie Myers
Marshall County REMC: Stefan Baird, Jessica Bare, Riley Carswell, Caitlin Gomez, Kyle Rettinger
Miami-Cass REMC: Leah Kimm, Ashley Miller
Noble REMC: Kayla Helfrich, Racheal Stump
Northeastern REMC: Abigail Christian, Stephanie Kyler, Erica Wurst
Orange County REMC: Ethan Hall, Ashley McDaniel
RushShelby Energy: Tina Burmeister, Ethan Craig, Brian Jarvis, Matthew Kuhn
Southeastern Indiana REMC: Maggie Armstrong, Megan Myers, Derrick Wade
Southern Indiana Power: Blake Kleaving, Christopher Lasher
Steuben County REMC: Torrie Bailey, Lauren Coleman
Tipmont REMC: Kiely Decker, Lynne Hardy, Michael Mattern, Tanner McCartney, Sasha McCorkle, Aubri Rush, Nathan Smith, Clayton Zink
Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC: Rachel Faulkner, Amy Goodman, Joanna Holsapple, Alexandra Lockhart
Wabash County REMC: Alysia Adams.


Electric Consumer 2009 Youth Tour Photo Gallery

Photos by Richard G. Biever, Electric Consumer

Thursday, June 11 • Indiana Statehouse tour; getting to know one another

statehouse2 Before leaving first thing Friday morning on two motor coaches for Washington (with stops in Gettysburg and Baltimore en route) June 12, the Youth Tour toured the Indiana Statehouse. The group assembles on the floor of the Indiana Statehouse rotunda before touring the building. Because the Indiana General Assembly failed to pass a budget by its deadline in April, the normal Statehouse tour was cut short: this was the same day the lawmakers were called back for its special session.
drivers Youth Tour coordinator Lynn Moore, left, introduces the motor coach drivers to the participants and their parents at the orientation in Indianapolis. The Free Enterprise System drivers, Steve Moulton, center, and Dave “Rudy” Ruschhaupt, stay with the trip through the entire week in Washington, trading off with two fresh drivers only for the all-night drive home.
statehouse1 Before the Indiana Supreme Court bench, Derrick Wade accepts an invite to try on a judge’s robe. Derrick, of Osgood, was sponsored on the tour by Southeastern Indiana REMC. Presenting him is Statehouse tour guide Jennifer Hodges.
quotes During the first evening together in Indianapolis, the 78 participants — strangers for the most part — got to know one another through a series of ice-breaker games and completing the “DISC” profile of personality styles. They also were each handed a quote about leadership that they read to the group and told what that quote meant to them. Blake Kleaving, sponsored by Southern Indiana Power in Tell City, reads his quote. Blake was later selected to represent all of Indiana on the Youth Leadership Council.

Friday, June 12 • A long drive east

cruisincrooners To break up the long cruise east, chaperon Andy Karle, left, a lineman with Tipmont REMC and a country music crooner, broke out some karaoke on a laptop and a mike. Jake Bifoss, sponsored by Jasper County REMC, couldn’t resist joining in for a song.The group arrived in Gettysburg that evening.

Saturday, June 13 • Gettysburg

gettysburggroup Saturday morning, the group explored downtown Gettysburg before a guided tour of the battlefield. This year, the group had formal portraits made in vintage 1860’s Civil War attire at a photo studio. This was one of the four groups.
gettysburg4 Trying on the Civil War clothing and prepping for the photo was a lot of fun. Riley Carswell, sponsored by Marshall County REMC, gets primped by Katy Stegall, Indiana Statewide chaperone, left, and Patti Ewers, owner of the Victorian Photography Studio.
gettysburg1 Torrie Bailey, sponsored by Steuben County REMC, fans Andrew Adams, sponsored by Boone REMC, while waiting to have their group photo taken in Civil War-era costumes. Andrew noted the wool uniform was getting hot. Behind are Casey Nesius, left, sponsored by Jasper County REMC, and Tanner McCartney, sponsored by of Tipmont REMC.
gettysburg5 Maggie Armstrong talks to Confederate soldier Derrick Wade, who just two days before had been an Indiana Supreme Court justice. Both were sponsored by Southeastern Indiana REMC.
gettysburg2 Paige Harrawood, sponsored by Daviess-Martin County REMC pauses to photograph a monument at the National Cemetery in Gettysburg. Not far from this point, President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address to dedicate the cemetery in November of 1863.
gettysburg6 Atop Little Roundtop, a key position on day two of the three-day Gettysburg battle that occurred July 1-3, 1863, guide Denny Forwood tells the Indiana group about the fighting, the bravery and the quick thinking of the soldiers who fought there.

Saturday, June 13 • Arriving in Washington; touring memorials

pizza A pizza party awaited the group after arriving at the Crystal City Hilton, their home for the next four nights of the tour. After leaving Gettysburg, the group stopped at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for lunch and some free-time sightseeing before reboarding and arriving in the Washington area.
verkamp Indiana’s Youth Tour coordinator Lynn Moore introduces the group to Youth Tour alum Logan Verkamp. The Jasper native attended the trip in 2006 courtesy of his cooperative, Dubois REC. He is spending the summer as a civil engineering intern in D.C. Verkamp offered the group advice on how to get most out of the trip and spoke about the deep bonds he developed with others he met. An EMT with the FBI also spoke to the group.
photosAfter dinner, participants had a few minutes to start looking over some of the digital photos they had gathered. Some must have been pretty funny — as Chris Lasher, lower left, Adam Fischer and Ashley Miller react. Chris was sponsored by Southern Indiana Power, Adam by Bartholomew County REMC and Ashley by Miami-Cass REMC.
ylcguys During the dinner, the Youth Leadership Council representative and alternate were announced. Blake Kleaving, left, will represent Indiana on the Council this year. Tanner McCartney is the alternate in case Blake can’t fulfill the duties which includes a trip back to D.C. in July 2009 and attending the national electric cooperative meeting in Atlanta in February 2010. Blake was sponsored by Southern Indiana Power and Tanner by Tipmont REMC.
jefferson2 After the dinner, the group boarded the coaches again for night viewing of some of the Washington sights, including the Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt memorials. Kurt Lueken, left, sponsored by Dubois REC, and Matt Duncan, sponsored by Clark County REMC, check out their photos of the Jefferson Memorial.
airforce The last stop of the first night in D.C. was the Air Force Memorial near the Pentagon. A light rain fell and distant lightning flashed in the sky as the group quietly explored the memorial with its three giant soaring, arcing spires reaching to the sky.

Sunday, June 14 • Photo op stops at the White House; Einstein statue

whitehousewaveIndiana’s group joins with others in front of the White House to do the “wave” for WaveAroundTheWorld.com, a Web site where videos of folks doing the wave in front of famous landmarks around the world are being gathered. The crew from the Web site asked Indiana to join them when both showed up at the same time.
whitehouse Rachel Faulkner shoots a self portrait in front of the famed gated residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
protester1 Youth Tour students visit with a protester-in-residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. His sign reads, “Ban all nuclear weapons or have a nice doomsday.” He told the group that he and a couple of others take turns manning the site.
protester2 Matt Duncan, sponsored by Clark County REMC, talks with the activist about his causes. Along with protesting nuclear weapons, he also talked about global warming and the need to ban fossil fuels.
einsteingroup In front of the National Academy of Sciences is a larger-than-life statue of Albert Einstein which the group gathers around and on for a photo opportunity.

Sunday, June 14 • Tour of Arlington National Cemetery

rfkThe group makes its way from the JFK flame to the Robert Kennedy gravesite where water flows past the enscribed words of hope and peace he offered in Indianapolis the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination. RFK’s simple white cross is off to the left, out of the picture.
tomb4 While at Arlington, the group saw the solemn and powerful Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
tomb1 During the ceremony, the rifle of the new honor guard is methodically and carefully inspected before he replaces the guard at the tomb. While there, Indiana’s group also saw two wreath laying ceremonies.

Sunday, June 14 • River cruise and dance

river The first full day in D.C. ended with a sunset cruise and dance on the Potomac River with Youth Tour participants from several other states. Amy Goodman (from left), Irina Miralda, Joanna Holsapple and Brittany Sievers enjoy the sunset and sights from the back of the “Mount Vernon.” Amy and Joanna were sponsored by Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC; Irina by Harrison REMC and Brittany by Kankakee Valley REMC.

Monday, June 15 • Youth Day Rally

youthday1 Chris Lasher, right, leads the Indiana group on a “roller coaster” as some 1,500 Youth Tour participants gather in a ballroom of the host hotel. The Youth Day activities included talks about electric co-op issues and a powerful keynote address from Mike Schlappi, a four-time Paralympics medalist for the United States.
youthday2 State pride is on the line during the rally — with a lot of loud cheering and flag waving.
blake At the rally, Indiana’s Blake Kleaving joins the other Youth Leadership Council representatives on stage.
schlappi3 Keynote speaker Mike Schlappi emphasizes to the Youth Tour that “if you can’t stand up, stand out.” Schlappi was paralyzed at age 15 when visiting a next door friend. The friend had found his dad’s handgun and, thinking it was unloaded, pulled the trigger and shot Schlappi in the chest.
youthday3Indiana Youth Tour participant Alison Sullivan is moved by Schlappi’s talk that, at various times throughout, was incredibly sad, funny and uplifting.
july09coverWith the U.S. Capitol over their shoulder, Matt Duncan, left, and Brian Jarvis look over their pocket guides trying to decide which Smithsonian museum to check out next. Matt was sponsored on the trip by Clark County REMC; Brian by RushShelby Energy.

Monday, June 15 • Smithsonian Institution (a mall of museums); Georgetown

apollo The Apollo 11 lunar command module “Columbia” that brought three astronauts home after the first moon walk 40 years ago this July attracts the attention of Ethan Craig and Kiely Decker, peering in the windows, and Lynne Hardy. The three toured the Air and Space Museum together during the tour’s time on the mall. Ethan was sponsored by RushShelby Energy and Kiely and Lynne were sponsored by Tipmont REMC.
Seven from Indiana became “accidental tourists” to Ukraine during an evening in Georgetown for dinner and a little shopping. They stopped to rest on the steps of what turned out to be the Ukrainian Embassy. Officials invited them in for the opening of an art exhibit, and they spent about 45 minutes hobnobbing with the artist, embassy staff and a high-ranking Ukrainian Orthodox Church bishop. The seven, which dubbed themselves the “Ukrainian Posse,” later spelled out: U-Heather Pick, K-Blake Kleaving, R-Kristine Adamiec, A-Chris Lasher, I-Keegan Vail, n-Spencer Roberts and E-Nathan Smith. (Ukrainian flag was digitally added for effect.)

Tuesday, June 16 • Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean and World War II memorials

lincolngroup2 Indiana’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour 2009 poses on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This was the 50th year Indiana participated in the annual event.
lincoln2 Along the northern wall of the Lincoln Memorial, Youth Tour members gather to photograph and read Lincoln’s second inaugural address, the beautiful “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” speech.
vietnam1 From left: Heather Pick, Kristine Adamiec and Torrie Bailey look up the location of a name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial before rejoining the group at the “Wall.” Heather and Kristine were sponsored by Kankakee Valley REMC and Torrie was sponsored by Steuben County REMC.
vietnamwall1 Jessica Bare of Plymouth, front, and other members of the group listen somberly as Vietnam Veterans Memorial volunteer Bill Shugarts talks about the war and its toll. Jessica was sponsored by Marshall County REMC.
vietnam2 Alicia Denney takes a rubbing of Doyle Foster’s name from the Vietnam wall. Alicia, sponsored on the trip by Johnson County REMC, volunteers at a nursing home where a resident asked her to take a rubbing if she sees anyone on the wall with his last name. Foster was an Army sergeant from Oneida, Tenn., who died March 25, 1971.
wallhands Hands, belonging to Indiana Youth Tour participants Adelea Willman and Leah Kimm and Park Service volunteer Bill Shugarts, cooperate to take a rubbing of Terry P. Redic’s name from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Redic, Leah’s second cousin, was an 18-year-old Marine killed in action June 16, 1966 — 43 years to the very day the group visited the black granite wall during its weeklong excursion.
vietnam3 Bill Shugarts helps Leah Kimm, center, and Adelea Willman take a rubbing of Terry P. Redic’s name from the wall. Leah was sponsored by Miami-Cass REMC. Adelea was sponsored by Jackson County REMC.Here’s a link to information about Redic, along with some photos.
korea2 Paige Harrawood photographs the “Freedom is not free” quotation enscribed on the Korean War Veterans Memorial. She was sponsored on the trip by Daviess-Martin County REMC.
Korean1 Adelea Willman touches the faces etched into the Korean war memorial. She was sponsored by Jackson County REMC.
wwII By the fountains of the World War II memorial, Chelsey Lloyd, from left, Lauren Coleman and Alison Sullivan take a break and talk about their experience so far. Behind them is the memorial’s field of 4,000 gold stars honoring the more than 400,000 lives lost in the war. In the distance is the Lincoln Memorial. Chelsey was sponored by Harrison REMC; Lauren by Steuben County REMC and Alison by Bartholomew County REMC.

Tuesday, June 16 • Capitol Hill

donnelly Indiana’s 2nd District Rep. Joe Donnelly meets with the students during an Indiana luncheon in the Rayburn congressional office building.
burton Indiana’s 5th District Rep. Dan Burton speaks to the group at the luncheon. The students were impressed by his personal tale of how he overcome an abusive father to rise to the Halls of Congress.
hill Indiana’s 9th District Rep. Baron Hill listens to a question from one of his constituents, Bartholomew County’s Alison Sullivan. Representatives from Sen. Richard Lugar and Rep. Mike Pence’s staffs also spoke at the luncheon.
pence After the luncheon, Indiana’s 6th District Rep. Mike Pence meets with the group across the street in front of the U.S. Capitol. He both informed the group about ongoing issues in Congress and entertained with his knowledge of the Capitol.
capitol2 On a tour of the U.S. Capitol, Ronn Jackson points out features of the rotunda. The group, through Rep. Pence’s office, also received gallery passes to sit and watch a debate on the House floor.
capitolroof2 Chris Cissell focuses his camera on the artwork atop the U.S. Capitol dome during the group’s tour of the building. He was sponsored on the trip by Clark County REMC.

Tuesday, June 16 • Iwo Jima Memorial Sunset Parade

parade6 The final evening of sightseeing in D.C. included a box lunch and the military parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial, commonly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial.

parade4 Looking like a piece of luggage that had been around the world a time or two, Spencer Robert’s shirt is covered with stickers for various tours the group had been on. It started with just his and a few others, and then became a magnet for everyone else’s.

Wednesday, June 17 • C-SPAN; Newseum; T-shirts

tshirts Every Youth Tour to D.C. includes at least one stop for souvenirs. Lindsay Krohn, right, shows a T-shirt to Sarah Martin while waiting in line at a shop across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe where the group had breakfast the last morning in Washington. Both girls were sponsored by Clark County REMC.
cspan1 C-SPAN’s CEO, chairman and founder Brian Lamb gives a brief talk to the Indiana group during a tour of the C-SPAN studio and offices on Capitol Hill. Lamb, a native Hoosier from Lafayette, was to lead the tour but was called away at the last moment to interview retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Looking up is Kristine Adamiec.
cspan2 Torrie Bailey gives a “thumb’s up” from the seat of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, a daily political call-in and interview TV show. The set’s window overlooks the Capitol.
newseum After leaving C-SPAN, another stop — to the newly renovated and reopened Newseum — emphasized the importance of journalism as a watch dog of government and a recorder of the “first rough draft of history.” Stephanie Kyler and Jake Bifoss, below right, check out the 9/11 exhibition at the museum. The tall object is a recovered section of the 360-foot communications antenna that once stood atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The background wall features front pages from newspapers covering the terrorist attacks that day. After the Newseum, the tour also visited the memorial at the Pentagon that honored those killed on the plane that hit the building and those killed inside the Pentagon.

Thursday, June 18 • Fond farewells

hugs The final event in Washington was an all-state’s dinner and dance at the host hotel for all 1,500 participants. But at 10 pm, it was back to the Hilton to gather belongings, freshen up and begin an all-night ride back to Indianapolis.
The motor coaches arrived right on time at 10:30 am where parents and co-op representatives greeted the tired travelers. Stephanie Kyler, left, and Ethan Craig give Tracie Trent, center, chaperone from Indiana Statewide, a big hug before saying goodbye.

A reunion for the 2009 Youth Tour group is schedule for Aug. 6 at Indiana Statewide Association of RECs. You can also check out info at the Indiana Statewide Youth Tour Web page; and see more photos on the Indiana Youth Tour’s FaceBook page.