High school sophomores and juniors, get your application in now for the once in a lifetime trip to Washington D.C. this summer

2014 NRA Youth Education Summit class

Fairfax, Virginia – The application deadline for this summer's National Youth Education Summit, an expenses paid weeklong educational experience in Washington, D.C., is February 1. Open to high school sophomores and juniors, the July 27 - August 2, 2015 summit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the D.C. area and compete for $30,000 in college scholarships through participation in the program’s events.

The National Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) encourages young adults to become active and knowledgeable citizens by learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the federal government and the importance of being active in civic affairs. Activities on the agenda include meeting with members of Congress, hearing from guest speakers at NRA Headquarters, participating in competitive debates, touring historic sites and monuments in the DC Metro area and more.

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New beginnings, old favorites, and smoking guns - 2014's best posts

CMA Top New Artist Brantley Gilbert hooking the crowd at the NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Fairfax, Virginia - A lot happened this past year at the NRA. In 2014 we saw the University of Michigan defend a national championship, we helped share the joy of the shooting sports with underprivileged children, and we took time to say thanks to our injured men and women in uniform.

We covered a lot of great stories, but only a handful can make it into each of our end-of-year recaps. Lars shared his top five posts yesterday, so today I get to send off 2014 with my own favorite stories from another successful year for the NRA.

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Send in your application for the once in a lifetime trip to Washington D.C. for high school students

Who will experience the 2014 NRA Youth Education Summit?

Fairfax, Virginia – The National Rifle Association invites high school sophomores and juniors across the United States to apply for the 2015 National NRA Youth Education Summit, an expenses paid weeklong educational experience in Washington, D.C. from July 27 – August 2, 2015. Attendees will compete for $30,000 in college scholarships through participation in the program’s events. Applications must be received by February 1, 2015.

The NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) encourages young adults to become active and knowledgeable citizens by learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the federal government and the importance of being active in civic affairs. Activities on the agenda include meeting with members of Congress, hearing from guest speakers at NRA Headquarters, participating in competitive debates, touring historic sites and monuments in the DC Metro area and more.

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High school students spend a day with Marines, testing simulators and learning history

2014 NRA Youth Education Summit at Marine Corps Base Quantico

Fairfax, Virginia - Below is the third part of 2014 Youth Education Summit participant Victoria Hrach's experience at the weeklong trip for high school students. Here, Victoria recounts the summit's trip to Marine Corps Base Quantico just outside Washington, D.C. At the base, a Marine liaison guided students to hi-tech training simulators, the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and some good chow. Later that evening, the summit traveled back north to D.C. to visit the Iwo Jima Memorial and Marine Barracks Washington for the famous 8th & I parade. Read the first and second parts of Victoria's story.

We woke bright and early on Friday morning, and ran through the parking lot, with the chaperones trying to give us a taste of Marine training; they put us through drills like jumping jacks, push-ups, and other endurance activities. By the time the chaperones allowed us on the bus, we had already done so much as a precursor to the experiences that we would later have that day at an actual Marines base.

At Marine Corps Base Quantico, we headed to different simulators and were broken into groups. Four of those groups, including mine, first headed to the Virtual Combat Convoy Trainer, or VCCT. The VCCT was a Humvee inside of a tent, with the walls all around it showing images of the simulation “surroundings” of Iraq. We had a driver, a radio communicator, one person each on the .50-caliber turret and M249, and two using M16s (myself being one of these two).

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Pennsylvania's Victoria Hrach discusses Y.E.S.'s travels in the nation's capital

2014 NRA Youth Education Summit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Fairfax, Virginia - This is the second part of 2014 Youth Education Summit participant Victoria Hrach sharing her experience at the once-in-a-lifetime trip for high school students. In this excerpt, the Smithton, Pennsylvania, native talks about the summit's two days in Washington, D.C., visiting a number of museums and monuments to learn our country's history and the importance of a federal government. Read the first part of Victoria's story here.

The following day, we traveled to Hillsdale College in Washington, DC for our debates. Our group of students this year was split into four debates, each with a con and a pro side, for a total of eight teams. Even the teams that were assigned sides that were difficult to argue still did exceptionally well, and whether new or experienced in debating, each participant truly brought a unique speaking style and interesting points to their presentation. After our debates, we traveled upstairs and watched Marco Rubio speak, proposing ideas for immigration and education reform.

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Y.E.S. student hits the books after returning home to write about her experiences in D.C.

2014 NRA Youth Education Summit class; Victoria Hrach is second from left on the bottom row

Fairfax, Virginia - Smithton, Pennsylvania's Victoria Hrach was one of two students representing the Keystone State at this past summer's NRA Youth Education Summit. After returning home from her unforgettable seven day trip to Washington D.C., the high school student found a keyboard and wrote about her experience. Below Hrach recalls her initial interaction with Y.E.S. and the summit's first full day - at NRA Headquarters no less.

On January 15, 2013, I first heard about the National Rifle Association’s Youth Education Summit program, in an NRA member email sent out to me. Y.E.S. offered scholarships, debates, and tours in Washington, DC – so I decided to look further into the application process.

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The Mountain State to debut NRA's newest state-level Y.E.S. October 16

Top Shot Season 4 champion Chris Cheng with the 2013 NRA Youth Education Summit's top shooters

Fairfax, Virginia - Each year the NRA selects a couple dozen exceptional high school students to attend its National Youth Education Summit, a seven day educational experience in Washington, D.C. Students spend the week touring the memorials and monuments around our nation’s capital while learning the significance of the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the importance of being an active citizen.

Some students are selected after submitting an application, but an increasing number of attendees reach Y.E.S. from a state-level program that graduates the top candidate(s) on to the national summit. Starting in 2002 these state Y.E.S. programs have popped up in Alaska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and now West Virginia.

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Y.E.S. participants nominate one another for special awards at summit's end

2014 NRA Youth Education Summit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Fairfax, Virginia - At the end of each year's Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.), after the students have gotten to know one another over a week of exploring sites around the Washington, D.C. area while learning about our federal government and the importance of our rights, everyone gets a chance to nominate their friends for special superlative awards. Event Support Coordinator Peter Lawless, the man who put this year's Y.E.S. together, wrote a great article detailing the superlatives and who won this year's awards.

The students of this year’s Y.E.S. grew incredibly close over the course of just one week. While other summer programs geared towards high school students are prone to form cliques, these 44 participants from 38 different states stood out as an exception to teenage stereotypes and consistently looked out for one another, making sure each person was fully included in each of the program’s activities and treated with respect. Since Y.E.S. serves as one of NRA’s investment in the leaders of America’s upcoming generation, seeing these qualities in so many youths that started the summit as strangers serves as a strong reassurance that our country will be in good hands when it is their turn to lead the nation.

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Students meet NRA staff, tour National Firearms Museum, and shoot on NRA Range

2014 NRA Youth Education Summit at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia - Before heading into a week of Washington, D.C.'s monuments, museum's and other attractions, the Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) always spends its first day at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.

Headquarters is a pretty big building, filled with a lot of programs that help people safely exercise their Second Amendment freedoms. After being introduced to just a few of the great services the NRA provides, the students got to meet NRA Executive Director of General Operations Kyle Weaver, who spoke about starting at the very bottom of the totem pole when he began his career at NRA, working hard to take charge of all NRA programs. During his time as Managing Director of NRA Field Operations, Weaver oversaw a number of Y.E.S. groups go through the weeklong educational experience and had some words about making the most of their time in the nation's capital.

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