Students meet NRA staff, tour National Firearms Museum, and shoot on NRA Range
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.
Pausing to eat lunch, the summit had a mock Friends of NRA event, like the fundraising banquets held all over the United States each year that raise money for Y.E.S. itself as well as the future of the shooting sports. Students got to play a few raffle games and win cool NRA gear before packing up and meeting Logan Metesh, the Firearms Specialist with NRA Museums.
Logan, a Y.E.S. alumnus himself from 2005, took the summit on a spectacular guided tour of the National Firearms Museum. Visitors to the museum normally guide themselves through the exhibits, learning nearly 700 years of firearms history through each gallery's informative plaques. But a guided tour is pretty special. Metesh took the students to some especially important pieces of the collection as their eyes wandered around the thousands of guns on display.
And because no trip to NRA Headquarters would be complete without some time at the NRA Range, that's exactly how Y.E.S. wrapped up their visit to the building. Pausing to take their Range Test and demonstrate they were able to safely handle firearms, the students took to the lanes and got a couple hours to fire from dozens of firearms featuring all kinds of calibers.
With only a couple hours of daylight remaining, Y.E.S. had to say goodbye to NRA Headquarters and headed to their next stop, the nearby Manassas National Battlefield Park, for a history lesson on the Civil War's first battle.
All of the students I spoke with wished they'd had more time to explore the National Firearms Museum and shoot on the range, but there's only so much you can do in a week, and the once-in-a-lifetime trip had many more stops to make.