Katie Ryan-Anderson is the manager of member communications for Dakota Valley and Northern Plains Electric Cooperatives in North Dakota. As a chaperone for the 2016 Youth Tour, in which high school students get to tour Washington, D.C. and learn about how rural electric cooperatives fight for important issues, she is sharing the students’ experiences through social media.
Ryan-Anderson volunteered to share her stories here on Basin Electric: Live Wire.
You can also watch the group’s progress via Facebook and Twitter:
Also, add Northern Plains Electric on Snapchat: nplainelectric
Watch #ytdc for posts from co-ops across the nation.
June 12, 2016, is a day the world will remember. And when they do, they’ll remember where they were.
Forty-three teenagers from North Dakota and Montana were in Washington D.C.
As part of the Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, the students visited the Newseum.
The Newseum is a museum dedicated to journalism and how reporters gather the news. Fitting, then, for the students to be there during one of the biggest news events of their young lives.
Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is a week-long excursion for high school students. They learn about history, politics, cooperatives and leadership. They also learn the place their big picture has in the bigger picture.
The students began the tour with a video about the history of American journalism, beginning with the Revolutionary War. They read headlines about elections, mobs, Vietnam and Monica Lewinsky.
After reading the experiences of journalists covering 9/11, they walked down the hall to the modern day.
Before they could see anything, they could hear. “Fifty-three wounded.” “Fifty dead.” “Worst in American history.”
Without being able to see, they questioned whether the announcement was from an event that they could not remember.
“Ties to Al-Qaida.” “Gay nightclub.” “3-hour standoff.”
What news event was this?
After students turned the corner on “9/11: May we never forget,” they walked into, “Last call at Orlando club. Then, shots rang out.”
“It’s really an eye-opener. These issues are so easy to push away from our minds. Especially, me being from North Dakota, rural area,” says Riley Abrahamson, Slope Electric Cooperative. “It’s so easy to disconnect yourself. But coming to a place like this is a good reminder that the news is our lives.” Watch the video.
As the students stood, eyes affixed on a jumbotron-sized screen set to CNN, they watched the ticker scroll. Behind them, preparations began for Washington D.C.’s gay pride festival.
These students are barely old enough to remember 9/11. And may they never have to. Opportunities like Youth Tour, in which students learn leadership skills, build character, compromise, dialogue, that’s what the world needs. Especially after a day it won’t forget.