By Kyle Jillson | April 20 2013 09:42

Texas high school students learn about their state government and the roles voters play

Texas capitol building in Austin during the 2013 Texas State Youth Education Summit

Fairfax, Virginia - Prior to the National Youth Education Summit, held each June in Washington, DC, some states have begun holding State Youth Education Summit programs to introduce high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors to their state government and learn about their state's unique heritage and history, and obtain a better understanding of volunteer organizations and how young citizens can become involved in serving their communities. Of course, like at National Y.E.S., a special emphasis is also placed on the benefits of firearms ownership.

Unlike the weeklong National Y.E.S., state summits spend four days at the state capital visiting with legislative and political leaders and learning about their state's history by touring museums and historical sites. Students are also introduced to various career opportunities wildlife and conservation and their interest in firearms, such as law enforcement or military service. Public speaking and debate skills are also tested through carefully designed group exercises.

Last weekend, Texas wrapped up its first ever state summit and it couldn't have gone any better. Don't believe me? Below is a letter one participant wrote to Liz Foley, the Southern Texas NRA Field Representative, about how much she enjoyed the experience.

2013 Texas State Youth Education Summit participants

Thank you so, SO much for all that you poured into the Texas Y.E.S. program this weekend!!! Thank you also for accepting my application. I am so honored to have participated in this event and to have met you, the other staff members, and the amazing people you all introduced us to. The relationships I have made this weekend will last me a lifetime, and I have you to thank for all of it. You have made such a tremendous impact on my life, but I know this was not an easy thing to do. I could never thank you and the others enough for all of your hard work, time, and effort that you have poured into this weekend and into our lives. This weekend, I had the time of my life. You gave me people to look up to and aspire to, motivation, and friendships that will last me a lifetime.

You and the other staff are role models for me, and I only hope that one day I might have the opportunity to influence, motivate, and teach others as you do. You all are incredible individuals that have influenced so many people and done so many great things for Texas and America, and I hope that I might someday be like you. The character, zeal, warmth, and goals that you embody have influenced me so much and given me something to aspire to. You are the kind of person I want to be. Not only are you actively involved in fighting for our freedom, but you are a Christian. As an American, it is my duty to fight for freedom. As a Christian, it is my duty to be a leader in this fight and to motivate others to do this as well. This is what you have showed me.

You have motivated me and given me an inspiration to strive for greatness, and the impact you have made on my life will last forever. The opportunities I received at Y.E.S. have inspired me to go above and beyond the call of duty to my state, country, and other Americans and Christians. I now have a new and much needed awareness of our state and country, a motivation to make a real difference in it, and the determination to make it happen. This weekend, we have met the people like you that will inspire us and lead us on toward this goal, and all of this is priceless.

In addition, the relationships we developed this weekend are irreplaceable. Despite the fact that we only knew each other for three days, I feel that we bonded so strongly that these friendships will last forever. It was truly incredible to meet so many people with the same beliefs, motivations, goals, and ideas. We bonded remarkably quickly and strongly, and it was phenomenal to have so many peers on such a common ground. They each had a powerful influence on my life as well, and it is mind boggling to think that I have a whole support group just a phone call away. Everything we did this weekend brought us closer together and drove us on to our goals. Although we have different goals in life, we all have the same motivations and morals. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Thank you, again, for everything you did to orchestrate the incredible things we did, meet the amazing people, and have such a spectacular time. I am truly honored and blessed to have met you and participated in this event. The people I have met here will be in my life forever, as will the dreams, motivations, and inspirations born here. I simply cannot thank you enough for all you have done. You all will always hold a special place in my heart and serve as a role model for me to look up to and strive after. You have made an such an impact on so many lives, and we will never forget you. I can only imagine how hard and how much work it must have taken to bring all of this together and make it happen, and I cannot thank you enough. I know you have been working on putting this together for so long, and I am so grateful for that. Please rest assured that your work has not been in vain, but rather it has changed my whole mindset and given me new desires and goals. I know that it has done the same for the others as well.

You all will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am eternally grateful for all that you have done. I was truly honored to meet and get to know you this weekend, and I thank you so much for all that you have done. I get emotional just thinking about it. You are such an incredible lady, and I want to be just like you. You have such a fun personality and you really made me feel at home. I love the way your relate to people and inspire them to become better individuals. Just talking to you makes me want to do all I can to protect the freedom of Texans and Americans. Thank you so much for all that you do, especially behind the scenes and as a volunteer.

May God bless you and everything you do. You are in my prayers.
Rachel Garner

P.S.: I really meant what I said about you making me feel at home. I feel like you are one of my Aunts, and you are so close to my heart. I really cannot express my appreciation for all that you do. Also, do you have a Facebook?

Texas joins Alaska, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia as states who hold their own Youth Education Summits prior to the National Y.E.S. in Washington, DC. A couple still need to be held, but the official 2013 National Y.E.S. participants list will be revealed at the end of the month once we have all the names.

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