‘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.
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
|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.|
Friday, June 12 • A long drive east
Saturday, June 13 • Gettysburg
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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
Sunday, June 14 • Photo op stops at the White House; Einstein statue
|Rachel Faulkner shoots a self portrait in front of the famed gated residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.|
|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
|While at Arlington, the group saw the solemn and powerful Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.|
|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
Monday, June 15 • Youth Day Rally
|State pride is on the line during the rally — with a lot of loud cheering and flag waving.|
|At the rally, Indiana’s Blake Kleaving joins the other Youth Leadership Council representatives on stage.|
|Indiana Youth Tour participant Alison Sullivan is moved by Schlappi’s talk that, at various times throughout, was incredibly sad, funny and uplifting.|
|With 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
Tuesday, June 16 • Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean and World War II memorials
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Adelea Willman touches the faces etched into the Korean war memorial. She was sponsored by Jackson County REMC.|
Tuesday, June 16 • Capitol Hill
|Indiana’s 2nd District Rep. Joe Donnelly meets with the students during an Indiana luncheon in the Rayburn congressional office building.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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
|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.|
Wednesday, June 17 • C-SPAN; Newseum; T-shirts
|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.|
Thursday, June 18 • Fond farewells
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.