Students visit nation's capital
Article was added on Monday, June 20, 2016
The 2016 Washington Youth Tour brought state's largest
Azavia Scott, Allie Blake and Chandler Swicord represented Santee Electric Cooperative.
A record number of students from S.C. joined more than 1,600
from across the country for the 2016 Washington Youth Tour. The
group from the Palmetto State, numbering 78 rising high school
seniors and eight chaperones, made this year's tour the biggest
"We've nearly doubled in size since I first started working at
Statewide," said Van O'Cain, coordinator of the state's Youth Tour
efforts and a member of the ECSC staff since 2006. "It's been
wonderful to see it grow the way it has."
Now in its 52nd year, the trip allows students to see their
nation's capital - from the monuments to museums - and learn about
the political process and interact with their elected
Among the highlights of this year's trip that began early Saturday
morning (5 a.m.!) and ended Thursday morning:
- Students formed a Soda Pop Co-op Saturday evening, electing a
board of directors who then hired a general manager. Throughout the
trip, students purchased steeply discounted drinks and snacks
provided by the Soda Pop Co-op. Business was brisk this year and
the co-op dissolved Wednesday night in sound financial standing:
each member received $6 in capital credits.
- South Dakota joined forces with South Carolina for a boat
cruise on the Potomac River. The two-hour ride gave students "a
chance to interact with people from entirely different backgrounds
and cultures," says O'Cain.
- Tuesday, Capitol Hill hosted more than 1,000 Youth Tour
students who traveled there to meet their elected representatives,
staffers and to learn more about the mechanics of the federal
government. U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, who represents the 7th
Congressional District and lives in Myrtle Beach, surprised the 16
tourists that arrived at his office. Rice broke from his desk and
gave the group a private, personal tour of the nation's
Weary, exhausted and a little emotional at the end, the students
returned to S.C. early Thursday. Six days previous, they largely
were strangers. It was a different story when the tour was finally
"Hugs and tears every year," O'Cain said of the scene at the
airport Thursday. "But when it happens, I know this trip is
something they'll always remember."
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