Planning Guide

Everything you need to know for an awesome Youth Tour experience.

HOW YOUTH TOUR WORKS

While on Youth Tour, all transportation, meals, admissions to events and lodging will be arranged for you.

You are selected and sponsored by your local electric cooperative; the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) coordinates the event for all of the Michigan cooperatives; and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) hosts the event in Washington, D.C.

Youth Tour draws approximately 1,800 students from over 45 states. If selected, you’ll be among approximately 20 students representing Michigan.

WHAT TO PACK

You’ll need clothing for five or six days. Plan for warm weather (Washington, D.C. is typically 80-90 degrees and humid during the day) but remember that we have a dress code:

LADIES

casualNice shorts, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, casual shoes, sandals, etc.

informal-lDresses, skirts, slacks, dressy shorts, capris and blouses or nice tops. No jeans or flip-flops.

business-lDresses, skirts and blouses, or pant suits (flat shoes are best, avoid heels, no flip-flops or backless shoes).

GUYS

casualNice shorts, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, casual shoes, sandals, etc.

informal-gDressy shorts (cargo-style is acceptable) and polo or collar shirts. No jeans or flip-flops.

business-gDress pants, dress shirt and tie (sport coat or suit optional).

NOTE: Bare midriffs, low-cut tops, very low-rise skirts/dresses, very short shorts, frayed/torn cut-offs, skimpy tank tops, clothing with suggestive and/or inappropriate printing (including alcohol or cigarette branding) ARE NOT ALLOWED to be worn while on Youth Tour.

FOOTWEAR

PACK COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES! We do a tremendous amount of walking every day on Youth Tour. To avoid blisters, don’t wear a new pair of shoes or sandals for the first time on this trip! Flip-flops are not acceptable to wear while touring (only during leisure time at the hotel).

OTHER PACKING SUGGESTIONS

  • Jacket or sweatshirt (days are typically hot and humid, but evenings can be cool)
  • Toiletries (travel sizes save space!)
  • Pajamas, underwear and extra socks
  • Snacks and/or gum for the bus trip
  • Travel pillow and/or light blanket for bus ride (REMEMBER: anything you bring with you must be able to fit in your checked bag for the flight home!)
  • Books or magazines to read on the bus
  • Headphones/earbuds if you plan to listen to music on travel days
  • Pocket-size Kleenex
  • Small, folding umbrella
  • Bag for dirty laundry
  • Camera (plus batteries/charger and extra memory card)
  • Phone charger
  • Consider labeling valuable items (phone, mobile devices, camera, chargers, etc.) as your room mates are likely to have similar items
  • Blowdryer and iron are furnished in each hotel room

HOW TO PACK

You are allowed one suitcase/duffel and one small carry-on (such as a backpack), in addition to a purse:

  • SUITCASE cannot weigh more than 50 lbs. and must not be greater than 62 linear inches (length + width + height). Be sure to leave room/weight for any items you may purchase while on Youth Tour!
  • CARRY-ON BAG(S) must be able to fit in an overhead compartment or under a seat.

Pack anything you’ll need during the bus trip in your carry-on bag, as luggage is stowed away and difficult to get access to during the trip to Washington, D.C. On our return flight, airport security strictly enforces carry-on regulations (learn more at www.tsa.gov). Anything that isn’t allowed in your carry-on will be taken by airport security and not returned. For simplicity, we recommend absolutely no liquids in your carry-on bags (pack them in your suitcase).

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

We’ll travel by motor coach from Michigan to Washington, D.C. (making stops in Gettysburg, PA and Baltimore, MD). We’ll return to Michigan by airline. You are responsible for your own transportation arrangements to the MECA office (downtown Lansing, MI) on the day we depart, and from the airport (TBD: Grand Rapids, Lansing or Detroit) on the day we return. Students are not allowed to drive themselves to/from Youth Tour for insurance and liability reasons. You may wish to arrange carpooling with other Youth Tour participants, or contact your co-op representative for assistance. You will receive more detailed travel information by mail.

WEATHER

The weather in Washington, D.C. is typically 80-90 degrees and humid during Youth Tour. It’s important to dress for the weather and drink plenty of water, which will be available on the tour bus.

HEALTH CARE

Nurses are on duty at the hotel, and a doctor is on-call. If you become ill or injured, alert a chaperone immediately so you can get proper medical attention.

SPENDING MONEY

Youth Tour expenses (including travel, lodging and meals) are paid for by your co-op. However, if you plan to buy snacks, drinks or souvenirs, you’ll need to bring some spending money. Keep in mind that Washington, D.C. is more expensive than Michigan. In the past, students have spent about $4 to $6 a day on drinks and miscellaneous. Souvenir t-shirts cost about $10 to $20 and sweatshirts, about $30. You may need about $75 to $100 for spending money, but if you don’t plan to buy souvenirs, and three generous meals a day are enough for you, you won’t need that much, if any.

PHONES & MOBILE DEVICES

You may bring phones and/or mobile devices, but you’ll be asked to keep use to a minimum while touring (which is most of the time!). Part of the Youth Tour experience is meeting others, and use of these items can separate you from the group and inhibit participation.

RULES OF THE ROAD

BE ON TIME. We have a very busy schedule and cannot hold buses or delay starting events. If you’re late, the whole group may miss out on something!

WEAR YOUR NAME BADGE AT ALL TIMES. Your name badge helps identify you as part of our group, has important contact information listed on the back, and is a great place to keep your Youth Tour schedule.

BE RESPECTFUL. We don’t always get a lot of personal space on Youth Tour. Some of the places we visit will be crowded, we travel by bus and public transportation, and you’ll share a room with up to two other students in our group. Please respect the rights of others and be tolerant of any differences.

LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. You can avoid potentially dangerous situations by being aware of your surroundings and following the rules of our buddy system. You’ll have freedom to explore some places in small groups, but never alone. If you see someone in our group is alone, invite them to join you. We’ll have a designated meeting spot after each stop – if you get separated from the group, meet at the designated spot at the designated time. We’ll do a quick “buddy check” each time we meet back on the tour bus before leaving.

RESPECT THE CURFEW. An 11:00 p.m. in-room curfew is strictly enforced. Chaperones will check rooms each night and security guards are on each floor of the hotel. You are not allowed to visit other rooms or have visitors in your room after curfew. Please remain reasonably quiet after curfew so others may rest up for the next day.

STAY WITH THE GROUP. For safety, scheduling and liability reasons, students are not allowed to separate from the tour to visit relatives or friends, or to leave the hotel after the day’s activities.

NO CO-ED ROOMS. Ladies are not allowed in guys’ hotel rooms at any time, and guys are not allowed in ladies’ hotel rooms at any time. No exceptions.

ZERO TOLERANCE. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco products and weapons (including laser pointers, or any other item that could be perceived as a weapon) are not permitted at any time.