Weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., influences Y.E.S. attendee's future education

Event Marketing and Communications Manager Nicole McMahon recently caught up with 2010 Youth Education Summit alumnus Joe Bliss, who is now interning with the NRA Institute for Legislative Action:

2010 Youth Education Summit attendee Joe Bliss of South Dakota

Since attending the NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) in 2010 Joe Bliss has had one thing on his mind: politics. Now a junior at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D., Joe is double majoring in political science and criminal justice. After he obtains his degrees he plans to go to graduate school and break into state politics.

However, Joe isn't waiting until grad school to take action, he is setting the stage now to be a successful lawmaker as an intern with the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). Why did Joe come to Washington, DC to work for the NRA if he wants to be a South Dakotan politician?

"I am the state director for South Dakota's Students for Concealed Carry," said Joe. "I am advocating for a campus concealed carry bill and want to have our district representative sponsor the bill in 2015."

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Apply for the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Washington, D.C., courtesy of the NRA

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

Fairfax, Virginia - The February 1, 2014, deadline to apply for this year's National Youth Education Summit is almost here. If you're a junior or sophomore in high school, this is your chance to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Washington, D.C.

The all expenses paid trip takes place June 23 - 29 and offers multiple scholarship opportunities. Throughout the week, students will learn about the American government through visits to NRA headquarters and a dozen other sights around our nation's capital. Students will also have the chance to develop their leadership skills, public speaking, and debating skills through fun activities. Most importantly, they'll get a safe introduction to the shooting sports at the NRA Headquarters Range! There's never a dull moment during the week-long trip.

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Get a head start on the application process for one of the summer's greatest trips, courtesy of the NRA

Who will experience the 2014 NRA Youth Education Summit?

Fairfax, Virginia - Each year, NRAblog shows how much fun the lucky students at the Youth Education Summit have traveling through Washington, D.C. For all you high school Sophomores and Juniors out there, YOU could be a part of next year's once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The NRA is currently accepting applications for the 2014 National Youth Education Summit.

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Virginia State NRA Youth Education Summit begins season for 2014 National Y.E.S. in Washington D.C.

Virginia NRA Youth Education Summit participants stand outside the Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond, Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia - Earlier this month, Virginia joined the list of states conducting state-level NRA Youth Education Summits in the lead-up to the annual National Y.E.S. program in Washington D.C. Like National Y.E.S., the Virginia State Y.E.S. is an expenses-paid educational experience on leadership skills and community involvement for high school students. The Y.E.S. website has a great write-up of the experience that you can read below.

Eleven students from across the Commonwealth of Virginia traveled to Richmond from July 12-14 to attend the Virginia State Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) program. There, the students met with state legislators, toured the Capitol building, and visited other sites around Richmond to learn more about Virginia government and history while competing for $1,750 in scholarships. At the closing awards luncheon on Sunday, Clayton Noble of Fairfax was selected to represent Virginia at National Y.E.S. in the Washington, DC, area next June.

The Y.E.S. program, funded by grants through Friends of NRA, covers students’ expenses to attend as an investment in America’s future leaders. Each participant was selected from a multi-faceted application including an essay on the Second Amendment, a personal statement, a resume of extracurricular activities, and academic performance. Only applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale are eligible for admission.

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High school students and Top Shot's Chris Cheng practice target shooting during NRA Youth Education Summit

NRA Youth Education Summit at the NRA Range

Fairfax, Virginia - It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the first stop of the NRA Youth Education Summit's weeklong Washington D.C. tour was NRA Headquarters. After a full day spent learning about the NRA's history, its community outreach programs and a tour of the National Firearms Museum, the students were joined by Top Shot's Season 4 winner Chris Cheng for some marksmanship practice at the NRA Range.

After taking the NRA Range Test to make sure everyone was well acquainted with safety procedures, the kids were split into small groups, equipped eye and ear protection and started shooting. Under normal circumstances, range visitors must bring their own firearms. Ammunition must also be brought by the shooter, or bought at the range. However, thanks to some very generous volunteers and NRA employees, the range was outfitted with a wide selection of firearms and ammunition for the summit.

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NRA Foundation grants $15,000 in college scholarships to top preforming Youth Education Summit participants

2013 NRA Youth Education Summit participant Ryan Kelly Murphy of Temecula, California receives a $3,000 college scholarship

Fairfax, Virginia - The NRA National Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) may be a weeklong educational trip to Washington D.C. that its attendees will never forget, but it is also a valuable opportunity to receive college scholarships. In addition to visiting the museums and memorials of our nation's capital while learning the role of the federal government and the importance of being an active citizen, students participate in speeches and debates on important contemporary topics.

Their performances are evaluated by NRA staff and, combined with the student's conduct throughout the week, determine the year's college scholarship winners. Scholarships are awarded at the week's end during Y.E.S.'s award ceremony and can be between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on how exceptional the student performed. To date, more than $385,000 in college scholarships have been awarded. And all told, more than 675 students have graduated from the program since its inception in 1996.

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NRA Y.E.S. tours the US Legislative and Judicial Branches in Washington, DC

NRA Youth Education Summit tours the United States Capitol in Washington, DC

Washington, DC - The United States Capitol Building is the most widely recognized symbol of democratic government in the world and has housed our nation's legislative branch for more than 200 years. For a program like the Youth Education Summit, that seeks to educate students on the significance of the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the importance of being an active citizen, it is arguably the most important stop of the week.

Once again trekking into Washington D.C. bright and early, Y.E.S.'s arrival at the US Capitol was greeted by Congressman Duncan D. Hunter of California's 50th congressional district in San Diego. Not afraid to speak his mind, Hunter took questions and spoke to the students about his duties as a Congressman and the importance of the democratic process.

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NRA Y.E.S. takes on NRA School Shield program, NSA surveillance and more at Hillsdale College in Washington D.C.

National Rifle Association Youth Education Summit at Hillsdale College in Washington DC

Fairfax, Virginia - Waking up bright and early Wednesday morning, the Youth Education Summit loaded into their bus for their first adventure in Washington D.C. This was the first trip to our nation's capital for many of the students and they gazed at the monuments as the bus drove into the heart of the city.

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NRA Youth Education Summit joined by Top Shot champion Chris Cheng for NRA Headquarters tour

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

Fairfax, Virginia - The first full day of the National NRA Youth Education Summit is spent at none other but NRA Headquarters, but that shouldn't surprise you. With a week's worth of events designed to educate attendees on the significance of the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the importance of being an active citizen, a top-to-bottom tour of the NRA is covers all bases.

Beginning with presentations by each of the organization's divisions, students learned how the NRA not only protects our Second Amendment rights, but provides almost 200 programs to enjoy and exercise them. Attendees were even treated to special presentations by NRA General Operations Executive Director Kyle Weaver and NRA President Jim Porter.

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