Weekly Feature

2011-04-28 / Letters to the Editor

Summit inspires, educates youth

This past summer, I was among the 45 students who were selected to participate in the Youth Education Summit program, which included an expense paid trip to America’s capital, Washington, D.C.

The Y.E.S program strives to educate youths about the government and nation’s history, as well as to develop debating skills and gain a deeper appreciation for veterans and soldiers.

When I arrived in D.C. I did not know what to expect. But the very first day I realized that the students and staff were all determined, confident, and eager to learn. It was nice to be in that type of atmosphere as well as surrounded by people with the same mindset as myself.

We experienced the capital to the fullest with drills from sergeants at the Marine Base at Quantico, debates and speeches, going to museums and memorials, and visiting the National Rifle Association headquarters.

One of my favorite experiences was shooting an M-16 and three other full-automatic firearms at the National Rifle Association’s range and meeting Wayne LaPierre, vice president of the NRA.

This program offered us more than a fantastic experience; it gave us the opportunity to step away from the textbooks and learn to appreciate our rights and how important it is to fight for them.

After the program, I transformed into the person I have always wanted to be: strong, confident, and passionate about teaching other youths about what I have obtained though this program.

Since the summit, I have been the guest speaker at two Friends of NRA banquets, which ranged between 200 and 500 people at each event. I have also spoken at numerous events.

Thanks to the Y.E.S program, I have a deeper understanding of how the government works and have changed my career path and major to political science.

It truly was a wonderful experience, and is a great opportunity for future leaders.

For information on applications, call 1-800-672-3888, ext. 1353 or visit www.nrafoundation. or/yes. It is open for future sophomores and juniors.

Samantha Salazar

Phyllis Drive

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