CAPITAL DREAMS: Max Copeland represents Alabama in D.C.

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Pike Liberal Arts School senior Max Copeland represented the State of Alabama at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC) Conference in the nation’s capital in July. Max will represent his home state at the NREAC Annual Meeting, March 7-14, 2019, in Orlando Florida.

“This was a tremendous honor for Max,” said Andy Kimbro, SAEC manager of member services. “We are very proud of Max and congratulate him on this great honor.”

This is the first time an SAEC representative has been selected to represent the State of Alabama on the national level.

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Max thanked SAEC for giving him the opportunity to be a part of the Alabama Montgomery Youth Tour, which was the beginning of an amazing learning experience that included the National Youth Tour and the YLC Conference, both in Washington D.C.

“I would not trade those three weeks for anything in the world,” Max said. “I now have a better idea of what I would like my future to be.”

For Max, the decision to apply for acceptance into the Montgomery Youth Tour in March was the beginning of what would be stepping-stones to his future.

SAEC selects 12 high school juniors as delegates to the Montgomery Youth Tour through an interview and essay process.

About 150 leaders from across the state spent two and half days in the state’s capital city learning about different aspects of state government and visiting places of historical significance and honing their social and leadership skills.

For Max, the opportunity to visit Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was pastor, was a moving experience.

“To be there and stand where Dr. King stood was an experience that I’ll never forget,” Max said. “When the leader asked if someone would like to pray and said I would. It gave me chill bumps to pray over everybody in that historic church.”

From the Montgomery Youth Tour, Max and Natalie Kennedy from Brantley High School were selected as members of a group of 45 high school juniors to represent Alabama at the National Youth Tour in Washington D.C. in June. More than 1,500 representatives from across the country spent a week learning about national government, visiting the houses of government and places of importance in the nation’s history.

“In Washington, we learned more about cooperatives and the role they played in the development of our country,” Max said. “We also got to visit many different historic sites around Washington. I loved the city. Something was going on all the time. It was exciting.”

The Alabama contingent chose Max as Alabama’s representative on the Youth Leadership Council and he flew back to Washington in July for the YLC Conference.

At the conference, the representatives from across the United States became more familiar with the historical and political environment of the nation’s capital city through visits to monuments, government buildings and cooperative organizations. The students also visited elected officials to increase their knowledge of how the federal government works.

Max said the YLC Conference was also an opportunity to build leadership and public speaking skills and life-long friendships with students from all across the country.

“Getting to meet and to know so many young people from all across the country and talk to them face-to-face was a great experience,” he said. “It’s different from talking on iPhones and texting. It’s a lot more personal.”

Max’s roommate was from California and he was interested to know what he knew about Alabama.

“Football, food and church,” Max said. “That’s what Alabama means to him. I thought that was very interesting.”

For Max, everything about the tours was interesting, so much so that he is considering majoring in political science, possibly at a university in the Washington D.C. area.

“I would like to have the opportunity to participate in the NRECA’s summer internship program for college students in Washington D.C. and one day wind up on Capitol Hill,” Max said with a smile.

Max is a member of the PLAS Class of 2019. At PLAS, he is a member of the Honor Society, the varsity football, basketball and baseball teams, SGA, Philosophy Club and Scholarship Bowl. He was president of his junior class.