All across Missouri, high school juniors are practicing their speeches and boning up on the history of rural electrification in preparation for their local electric cooperative's Youth Tour contest. Some of you may have already been selected as delegates for this year's Youth Tour.
Chances are, you have no idea what awaits you. Maybe an older brother or sister or an upperclassman has told you a little about the trip. But really, you can't imagine how cool this week will be.
You'll start the week a little shy and maybe just a bit afraid. You're going to be thrust in a room with about 80 other teenagers from all across the state and some adult is going to tell you to start making friends. "Yeah, right!" you say. Trust me, in a week you won't want to say goodbye and you'll consider most of these other Youth Tour delegates to be lifelong friends. Some of them actually will be.
Yeah, you've seen pictures of the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. You think you know what they're all about. Think again. There is a feeling that comes over you when you're standing next to that black wall with all those names that you just can't describe. There's definitely a spirit there.
You're going to do and see so many things in one week you won't believe it. Your dogs are going to bark and you won't sleep a wink the first couple of days. But, man, you're going to have fun. Even stupid stuff like counting off on the bus will make you smile when you think about it later.
Sure, sure. This is just somebody talking. You wait and see.
If you've been selected as a delegate to the 2009 Missouri Youth Tour you're a very special young man or woman. You've earned a spot on this exclusive trip. Look forward to it. Make the most of it. Cherish it forever.
We'll see you in 71 days!