By Kyle Jillson | December 21 2011 09:12
Another alum from the 2011 Youth Education Summit, Amanda Krpan, sent us an essay on the impact a life experience has had on you. Amanda chose to write about her experience at the week-long Y.E.S. summit and how it increased her appreciation for our government. Her essay can be found below:

The 2012 Youth Education Summit will be held June 25 – July 1, 2012 and the application deadline is February 1 is approaching quickly. The application, along with additional information about the summit, can be found at the Youth Education Summit's website here.

2011 NRA Youth Education Summit participant Amanda KrpanIn my course scheduling appointment for my upcoming junior year, I placed a tiny check next to the Advanced Placement United States History option. On the first day of class, I was already behind. I had never cared much about history or government and it showed. Honestly, I didn’t even know that there were three branches of government before taking the class. Nonetheless I took on the challenge; studying for 4 hours a night just to grasp concepts. I went beyond the classroom by watching movies, asking experts in related fields, and the History Channel became my best friend. I attended every help session for the remainder of the year and I became the kid of the class to go to when you had questions about something. All of my perseverance showed with four A’s on my report card and a well qualified 4 on the AP exam. My efforts didn’t end there. The new information planted a deep rooted seed to learn even more about our government.

Up to this point in my life I was consumed by two things; school and volleyball. I’ve played for my high school and nationally ranked travel team for over six years. I spent all my time at both knowing that at least one would help me pay for college. But while searching for academic scholarships online, I came across what came to be one of the best experiences of my life. I decided to take a chance and apply for the National Rifle Association’s Youth Education Summit; a week long government oriented program in Washington D.C. Only 45 rising juniors and seniors in the country would be chosen for the unique opportunity of learning about the constitution, our duties as citizens, and to explore our Nation’s capital.

Ironically, while at a national qualifier volleyball tournament thousands of miles from home, I found out that I was accepted. After my initial outburst of excitement, reality stuck a cord. The summit would be the same week as the AAU National Championship volleyball tournament. Not playing in this tournament could hurt my attempt at playing in college. However, I felt compelled to get out of my comfort zone and experience something new. I grasped the opportunity, deciding to have no regrets and to make every moment of the trip count. I didn’t know how much it really would.

From sun up to sun down, we witnessed the inner workings of government, toured historical landmarks, prepared formal speeches and debates, and met with several movers and shakers of our country. I remember sitting on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, reflecting on how our nation formed, and then reflecting on my own past. I was humbled by where I was at that moment and tears filled my eyes as I gazed at the American flag blowing gracefully in the wind.

I left on a plane out of Florida one person and came back a totally different one. I was awakened to so much more than my little world of volleyball and school. I was inspired to take chances and seize each day for all I can. My motto is Carpe Diem and I strive to apply the essence of the phrase to every aspect of my life. I look forward to applying these feelings of excitement, curiosity, and energy to my college years and beyond because, as I know well, history is made every day!

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