The day was jammed pack with exciting activities. We started with the Youth Rally.
Emily was introduce on stage as our 2008 Youth Leadership Council Representative! She made Louisiana proud. The rest of us livened up the place by chanting our cheer!
During the rally, we were introduced to how the electric cooperatives got their start. Actor David Landis reenacted Senator Norris's life story about his life growing up on a farm with no electricity and how he went to Congress to make a difference.
We also learned about the NRECA's Our Energy, Our Future campaign. We were encourage to go to Capitol Hill and ask the tough questions that will make a difference in our futures and our energy bills.
The rally ended with a motiviational speech from Mike Schlappi. He had an inspiring message for every American, young or old: "Just because you can't stand up, doesn't mean you can't stand out." At the age of 14, Schlappi was student body president and an Eagle Scout, and was dreaming of a career as a top American athlete when he was involved in a tragic shooting accident. Doctors told him he would never walk again, but after months of rigorous therapy, he began playing basketball from his wheelchair and went on to become an athletic standout.
Schlappi is a four-time Paralympic Medalist and two-time World Champion in Wheelchair Basketball. The only wheelchair basketball player in the United States to be on four consecutive summer Paralympic teams, Schlappi was honored by the state of Utah in 2000 as one of its Top 50 athletes of the past century.
After the rally we spent the afternoon at the Smithsonian. We were allowed to explore the many museums in the area. Everyone found something they were interested in whether it was the Air and Space , Natural History, Native American, are one of the many art museums. Unfortunately, at the same time we were scheduled to board the bus and huge storm came through. Some of us got very wet, but we all made it back to the bus safely and we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the boat cruise.
Luck was on our side! When we arrived at the docks the weather cleared up and the boat was able to sail. We had a blast. Some of us enjoyed partying on the dance floor. Some watched the beautiful city go by from the observation deck as we sailed down the Potomac River. It was great to meet some many people from different states. We traded beads and pins while getting to know about other people's homes and cultures.