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“Co-op kids must understand the only standards they need to meet are theirs.” - Garrett King, Youth Tour Alumnus


The Cultured Diplomat One of those folks is more than


7,000 miles across the world. Kyle Ensley, 2004 Youth Tour delegate, ex- emplifies the role of foreign service in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).


Ensley graduated from OSU in


Eric Harlow, 1997 Youth Tour delegate


The Fearless Leader Eric Harlow, 1997 Youth Tour


delegate, is no stranger to en- gines—fire engines that is. For the past three and half years, Harlow has been the fire chief for the city of Guthrie. The trip, which was sponsored by his home co-op Central Rural Electric, solidified his respect for government at all levels. Following his week in Washington D.C., Harlow knew he had plans to enter government service in some shape or form. While studying fire services at


Oklahoma State University (OSU), Harlow received his emergency medical technician (EMT) certification and volun- teered as a firefighter in the com- munity of Ripley and as an EMT in Yale. He then served as a fire- fighter in Edmond and became the Deer Creek assistant fire chief in 2005.


“It makes you feel proud to serve the people and come to work daily knowing you will be there in their time of need,” Harlow says. The need was urgent in May 2014 when wildfires threatened


Eric Harlow, 1997 Youth Tour delgate OCTOBER 2014 21


2009, and then went to Harvard where he completed his master’s degree in Public Policy in 2011. He then joined the Foreign Service, and has recently accepted the position of consular of- ficer at the United States Embassy, UAE.


both life and property in the Guthrie area. For Sidney Sperry, OAEC director of public rela- tions, communications and re- search, the wildfire’s reach came too close for comfort—about 1,000 yards from his home. He says he experienced how Harlow cares deeply about the citizens he serves.


“It’s really good to see some-


one succeed who has in many ways committed their life to pub- lic service,” Sperry says. “I would like to think some of the things he learned in Youth Tour, like the role we all have in some ways of being a public servant, is some- thing he took to heart.” Looking back on his journey


from Youth Tour to present day, Harlow says he is amazed at what he’s been able to do in what seems like a short time. He con- tinues to be grateful for his role as a public servant, always noting the worst situation can also bring out the best in people. “I love Oklahoma and I think we have some of the best folks in the world,” Harlow says.


“I have learned so much while be- ing a diplomat,” Ensley says. “I’ve only been in the Foreign Service for two years, and I’ve already visited seven countries.” Ensley says Youth Tour helped fur- ther his love for America and impact- ed his desire to continue a career in public service. “I had a wonderful experience on


Youth Tour,” Ensley says. “It helped being in D.C. and being surrounded


by other student leaders from Oklahoma; many of them have con- tinued as college friends and even fra- ternity brothers at OSU.” Jennifer Dempsey, OAEC director of member services, education and youth, remembers sitting next to Ensley on the flight to D.C. “I remember him talking non-stop, telling me his future plans—which, even at such a young age, included public service,” Dempsey says. What he didn’t mention was he also had a knack for performing. It wasn’t until a few years later when Kyle’s sponsoring co-op, Choctaw Electric, let Dempsey know he was on the national singing competition show, “American Idol.” “I couldn’t believe when I tuned in and found out how talented he was,” Dempsey says. “I still remember, too, how sad the judges seemed to be when he was voted off the show.” In 2008, these national perfor- mances led to him landing a guest spot on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. He has also recently appeared in “House of Cards” and “VEEP,” which are both filmed in the Washington, D.C., area. “I can’t imagine not pursuing both public service and performance,” Ensley says. “They’re a big part of who I am.” Ensley says he would never have thought these dreams would come true like they have. Like his fellow ac- complished Youth Tour alumni, he remains grateful, humble and ready to serve. “I feel so blessed to have had these experiences,” Ensley says.


Kyle Ensley, 2004 Youth Tour delegate. Courtesy photo


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