10 Reasons To Apply For Youth Tour

10 Reasons To Apply For Youth Tour

Written From a Student Who Went on the 2016 Iowa Youth Tour
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Many Rural Electric Cooperatives across the State of Iowa participate in sending high-school aged youth on the Iowa Youth Tour, a trip to our nation's capital, to learn more about the cooperative values and impacts that they have on our communities. Throughout the trip, the tour engages in hands-on learning, immerses youth in the culture of Washington, D.C. and creates once in a lifetime experiences with freindships that will last a lifetime. Below are ten amazing reasons to visit Youth Tour, but there are many more simply too numerous to list.

1. The Uncertainty

When I stepped foot in Des Moines, IA to meet the other delegates, I really didn't know what I was walking into on this trip. With about thirty delegates from across the State of Iowa, these people are about to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will impact each other's lives and owners of many Rural Electric Cooperatives across the state!

2. The Food!

Come Hungry, Leave Happy! From a Half-Smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl to a Burger at Five Guys Burgers & Fries you are sure to be full as you immerse yourself in the culture of Washington, D.C. and eat like a local!

3. The Run with Senator Chuck Grassley

It's a tradition! Get up at roughly 3AM, drive to Senator Grassley's home and go for a run! It's time for some real one-on-one time with a Senator that will remain an experience unlike any other!

4. The Pin Trade

Iowa's Pins are worth quite a bit mainly because they are CORN NECKLACES. Let the war break out between the states and see just what happens....

5. The Hill

Have you ever had a personal tour given by an office representative of one of your elected officials? The Capitol Tour is an amazing thing, especially with these guys because you bypass the normal tours... and may even get to see some other things too!

6. The People

The Keynote Speakers are AMAZING! We even had one from Iowa and he met all of the 2016 Presidential Candidates when they visited!

7. The Peacefulness...

Whether it is a boat ride on the Potomac or the tour at the Tidal Basin, you are sure to kick back a little and have a ton of fun in the process!

8. The Changing of the Guard

Guarded continuously since 1937, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most sacred places in Washington, D.C. Watching the Changing of the Guard is amazing, but being selected to lay a wreath is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that gives the feeling of honor and astonishment.

9. The Family

After spending every waking moment with the same people for the duration of the trip, these people are no longer friends... they become family, just like rural electric cooperatives across the state.

10. The Chaperones

Shelly has experience and a lot of it in planning this trip! With seven Youth Tours under her belt, she knows how to do it right! Youth Tour would not be the same without Shelly leading the way and it is because of her work year round that the Iowa Youth Tour is the best Youth Tour in the nation!

HOW CAN YOU BE SELECTED FOR YOUTH TOUR?

For more information or to see more photos from the 2016 Iowa Youth Tour visit https://www.facebook.com/IowaYouthTour/ or contact your local Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative today!

PS: If you win a trip on Youth Tour it doesn't stop there. If you want to become politically involved, then Youth Tour is the trip for you! With all the perks of the Iowa Youth Tour, one that many do not know is the perk of becoming a part of Rural Power, a non-partisan advocation group that promotes safe, reliable, affordable energy delivered in an environmentally, responsible manner. In the next election, watch for green shirts like these headed your way!



Cover Image Credit: Iowa Youth Tour

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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5 Differences Between Your First Day Of College Vs. The First Day Of Your Last Semester

Fall, freshman year: You have all the textbooks you need. Spring, senior year: You haven't even thought about ordering textbooks.

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With the last semester of college coming up, it can be interesting to reflect on the first semester you ever had and just how little you knew. Take a trip down memory lane and thank the universe for not being that gullible freshman anymore.

1. Your outfit

Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

Fall, freshman year: You try to look cute as possible. Your outfit is on point and your hair and makeup are done.

Spring, senior year: It snowed, and now you're wearing the shoes that will be most likely to keep you safe and you are bundled in five layers.

2. Your supplies

Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

Fall, freshman year: You have all the textbooks you need, notebooks for every class, and three pencils in your new book bag.

Spring, senior year: You haven't even thought about ordering textbooks, your book bag is falling apart, and you remember to throw a pencil in your bag as you're walking out the door.

3. Your mindset

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Fall, freshman year: You're nervous about your classes but excited to learn new things

Spring, senior year: You don't know where your classes are, and nothing sounds remotely interesting. Why do I have to be here? I'm already in grad school or know what I'm doing with my life.

4. Your friend group

Photo by Katy Belcher on Unsplash

Fall, freshman year: You desperately try to find other people in your class and the idea of sitting by yourself gives you anxiety. Once you get to class, you try to talk to everyone near you and make friends.

Spring, senior year: You know most (if not all) the people in your major, you have at least one friend in your class, or you just don't really mind sitting by yourself anymore, let alone trying to make small talk with strangers at one of your 9ams.

5. Your confidence

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Fall, freshman year: You feel like you know nothing and everyone is older and wiser than you. You can't wait until you're their age and know everything.

Spring, senior year: You realize that there is no such thing as wisdom and that you're still not really prepared. The difference is is that now you just don't care.

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