Participant Puts Youth Tour in His Own Words
By Mason Ewing | Grayson-Collin EC, 2017
For most of us who were lucky enough to be chosen for this journey, this point in our life is filled with many first times and last times. For better and worse, Youth Tour turned out to be both at the same time. I advocate for this rare opportunity because I know that no matter the person, it will create monumental memories the size of Texas.
I would fill this article with my best memories and the trademark traits of Youth Tour (e.g., backpack-shaped sweat marks on every T-shirt), but I don’t want to spoil the special surprises of the memorable elements for those who will participate in the future.
Aside from “yee-haw,” the most repeated phrase throughout the trip is, “It’s the trip of a lifetime.” And that is the only way to accurately describe it, in as few words as possible.
In the days prior to the trip, you will be anxious, excited and even a little intimidated, worrying that it will turn out to be just another high school field trip. However, Youth Tour is in a category all its own, especially when it comes to bonding with your peers. You get to experience exciting and intriguing adventures with complete strangers who quickly turn into close friends—becoming like family.
It begins the first night in Austin when everyone is in the hotel courtyard, playing icebreakers to make friends and have fun. You begin to realize that this isn’t a school-like experience; nobody can be left out because everyone is in the same boat. It’s a group of unique people and personalities that melt together to create something great—like a big bowl of Texas queso. Now take this Texan blend of new friends and drop them in our nation’s capital. Something fun and interesting is bound to happen.
There is truly nothing that could mentally prepare you for the events to come. Exploring the vast capital city of countless monuments, museums and historical attractions will be exhausting and downright indescribable. You will understand that the people you share this experience with and the lifelong friendships you develop are more important than the places you visit.
There is a harmonic sense of home and adventure in the same instant. Thinking that days before, this close-knit group of teenagers were complete strangers becomes almost unbelievable. Youth Tour offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be more than desired by anyone. I can say with complete candor that this journey and participation changed my outlook, my understanding and me as a person. I hope that all participants and chaperones share this feeling as well as a grand appreciation for Esther Dominguez, of Texas Electric Cooperatives, and everyone who makes this entire experience possible.
Thanks to this incredible congregation of amazing people, I will always have these monumental memories.
Mason Ewing of Van Alstyne is attending Grayson College with plans to study business at the University of Arkansas.