Amy Dreibelbis begins to tear up. Her daughter, Maddy, attempts to soothe her with a simple, “Don’t cry.”
Reflecting on the moment she dropped Maddy off in June, Amy couldn’t help but remember her own experience 30 years ago.
“Our orientation wasn’t as elaborate, but I can remember my dad dropping me off in a parking lot. I mean, it wasn’t bad,” she said with a laugh. “I can remember all the kids meeting for the first time in the parking lot with our suitcases. It brought back a lot of good memories.”
Both Amy and Maddy were chosen for the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., as members of Noble REMC — the former in 1989, the latter in 2019.
While their experiences at the museums and with other students mirrored each other, there was one big difference: how big of a trip it has become.
When Amy went, the trip was known for the number of 4-H students who attended. Her Indiana trip class was 36.
This year’s Youth Tour involved 1,800 students from 43 states, including 105 from Indiana.
But one constant remains: Youth Tour’s purpose. The weeklong trip provides students nationwide the opportunity to visit D.C. to learn about government, experience history and gain a better understanding about the electric cooperative difference.
This is something both of them can now reflect on together.
“Did you do the river cruise thing?” Maddy asked from across their living room table.
“Yeah, I remember that,” Amy said. “It was so much fun.”
Amy laughs as Maddy talks about how much fun she had dancing and mingling with students from other states on the Potomac River cruise before the conversation sidetracks to their experiences visiting Mount Vernon and meeting with state legislators.
“There are a lot of elements of the trip that are so much the same which is really great,” Amy said before jokingly adding, “I can’t decide if it makes me feel old or not. I’m trying to do the math here.”
The anticipation of what Maddy would experience is what pushed Amy to get her to apply. But it wasn’t just her own daughter who she encouraged. As a teacher at West Noble High School, Amy made it a tradition to promote the trip to her students.
“I was really grateful for her to have the chance to go. I’m glad they continued this, and I hope they always do continue. It was great to see how it has grown as an opportunity,” Amy said.
It was an eye-opening trip for both of them, as they were able to broaden their horizons in meeting different people.
Amy said after her trip in 1989, she kept in contact with a lot of students “the old-fashioned way” by writing letters and visiting each other at their county fairs.
That networking and bonding is still a large part of the experience, Maddy said. Part of the students’ time is spent with kids from other states, exchanging state pins to see who could collect the most from the most states.
“This trip allowed me to meet some amazing and motivated young people and to make friendships with a variety of people I would have never gotten to meet,” Maddy said. “Thank you, Noble REMC, for providing such a new and impactful experience for me. This trip will not be easily forgotten and has continued to give me an appreciation for learning about our government, as well as our nation’s history.”
Before even finishing the question, Maddy said those who are thinking about going “should sign up. It’s really fun.”