By Kyle Jillson | August 28 2012 14:41

Kaytlyn Leonard, the 2012 National Y.E.S. attendee from North Carolina and recipient of a $1,000 college scholarship, joined her fellow students in writing thank you letters to their NRA Field Representatives. Here is Kaytlyn's letter to Western North Carolina's Doug Merrill detailing her time in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Merrill,

Last September, I was sitting in the lounge at my school in between classes, talking with a few friends. It started off as a normal day, but quickly changed. At about 9am I arrived at my calculus class and noticed that class was cancelled. So, off to the lounge I went to spend my time until the next class started. Since I was not in a class, I turned my phone on...you never know just who may call you! Thankfully, the ringer was up and when my phone rang I promptly answered. "Hello?" I said uneasily to the number I did not recognize. All of a sudden a voice comes over the phone asking me where I was... "Well, school," I replied hesitantly. To my disbelief, I was suppose to be in Raleigh at the North Carolina NRA Youth Education Summit. Hurriedly, I rushed home, packed my clothes for the weekend and headed to YES, not knowing that the weekend would end up causing a string of events that would change my life.

Chaperones like yourself, and the other NRA volunteers really made the experience incredible. The weekend in Raleigh opened my eyes to countless opportunities from the NRA, and made me want to learn more about our government, through the NRA. Fortunately, this yearning for knowledge would be accommodated. I was blessed enough to win the top scholarship and receive the trip to DC for the National Summit which took place this past June. I really enjoyed speaking at the Friends of NRA Banquets, and each day I looked closer and closer to being on the plane to DC!

In Washington, D.C., I experienced our Nation's Capitol in a way that others could only dream. Rather than rambling on and on for days at a time about how much I learned, or how much fun I had, I'll lay it out day by day:

Monday: Today we all arrived in Fairfax, VA. After getting off our planes and being greeted by amazing chaperone's at Washington Dulles, we were bussed to our hotel to participate in ice-breakers that really set the tone for the rest of the week. Most of the kids had already communicated through facebook, email, and even phone calls but during the ice-breaker we quickly saw how fast everyone would get along. Friendships quickly began to form. After ice-breakers, we went over the rules for the week and headed off to bed, knowing that this would be the one night that a good sleep would even be a possibility.

Learn about the rest of Kaytlyn's week on the Friends of NRA website here.

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