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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College students still spends time practicing and promoting lessons she learned at the NRA

Amanda Krpan, 2011 NRA Youth Education Summit Alumna Fairfax, Virginia - There’s something special about the students who attend NRA’s Youth Education Summit. Those who travel across the country, some for the first time, for a week long sojourn into the heart of democracy and the 2nd Amendment. But what happens after they return home? After touring the nation’s capital, meeting with congressional leaders, hearing from NRA experts and trip to the range … what becomes of them?

Some become NRA employees (second paragraph), some become Rhodes Scholars, and some just keep spreading the word.

Enter Amanda Krpan.

2011 YES alumna and junior at the University of Florida, Krpan returns to the NRA to serve as a chaperon for this year’s stable of YESers. While walking her group through the National Firearms Museum, we stopped her for a scoop on her post-YES activities.

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Reflections from one of two students chosen to represent Pennsylvania at NRA's Y.E.S. conference this summer

Pennsylvania's Youth Education Summit visit to the State Capitol

Victoria Lee Hrach, a orthopedic surgeon hopeful on her way to St. Vincent College, shares her experience at the Pennsylvania Y.E.S. conference, a precursor to NRA's National Youth Education Summit in Washington, DC.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - This April, I had the chance to participate in the NRA’s 2014 Pennsylvania Youth Education Summit.  It was truly an amazing experience for me, and opened up so many new opportunities that I would not have otherwise had.

First of all, much of the weekend’s focus was placed on public speaking and debating, skills that we all learned would prove vital as we continue to grow in our roles as responsible citizens and members of our communities... Read the rest of Victoria Hrach's take on the Pennsylvania Youth Education Summit ...

NRA selects top projects from 2013 Youth Education Summit attendees

Youth Education Summit Grand Scholarship entries

Fairfax, Virginia - After each year's NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.), the seven day educational experience in Washington, D.C. for high schoolers, students have an amazing opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in financial aid through the Y.E.S. Grand Scholarship. This year's competition featured $15,000 up for grabs in college scholarships.

Over the next nine months, participants create a portfolio detailing their efforts to introduce NRA's great programs like Eddie Eagle GunSafe®, Women On Target®, and Refuse To Be A Victim® into their communities and the positive effects that resulted.

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