Thomas County Central High School senior Bishop Jackson took a week-long leadership sojourn to the nation’s capital this summer. Grady Electric Membership Corp., known as Grady EMC, selected Jackson as its Thomas County representative on the 2022 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, commonly called the Washington Youth Tour.
“For more than 50 years, electric cooperatives across the state have recognized outstanding high schoolers through the Washington Youth Tour program, and we were thrilled to return to Washington, D.C. this summer,” Grady EMC Senior Communications Specialist Beth McMillan said.
“Georgia’s EMCs are firmly committed to developing our state’s most precious resource—our youth—and we take great pride in providing this valuable leadership experience for exceptional teens like Bishop.”
Jackson described the tour as comprehensive.
“Even though the experience was just one week, I did so many activities and met lots of people during the trip,” he said. “The trip was more fast-paced than I thought it would be. Before receiving the trip's itinerary, I had no idea we would be visiting five or six places in one day. Even though I had been to D.C. before, I still went to places I hadn't seen before.”
The group visited various museums and monuments, including the Smithsonian Museums, the White House, Mount Vernon, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Pentagon Memorial and the national World War II Memorial.
“My favorite site we visited was the National Gallery of Art,” Jackson said. “I had never been before, and the museum had so many famous art pieces from centuries ago that were stunning to behold.”
His favorite aspect of the trip was meeting with Georgia’s senators and representatives.
“It was an honor to have the opportunity to meet and ask questions to the people who run our nation's government,” Jackson said.
While the WYT seeks to share some of the nation’s history and government with its participants, the tour also strives to help youth develop leadership skills. Jackson said his experience made him a stronger leader by demonstrating the importance of service.
“Whether it was learning how electric membership corporations build power lines in developing countries, meeting congressional representatives, or laying flowers on the Vietnam Memorial on Father's Day, the trip emphasized that leadership is about serving those who can't do so themselves,” he said.
And he also picked up an important life skill: traveling with a large group and delays taught Jackson how to be flexible.
“From now on, I will make sure to be ready for the unexpected,” he said.