The goal of the program was to educate young emerging leaders about our government. We also got to tour the sites of D.C. and on occasion attend sites and programs of our choosing, like the National Rifle Association, or hear a speaker on the Human Rights Campaign, and other great things.
We learned about national issues and the roles of government through important guest speakers, through experiencing Capitol Hill and Washington D.C. and their symbols, and my personal favorite, through simulating the parts of government. We heard many important people speak, covering national issues and government affairs.
Of all the things we had the privilege to experience, Capitol Hill was really the peak of all of them. During our time at Capitol Hill, we were one of only two youth programs ever with the permission to be on the floor of the House of Representatives, sitting in the same seats that our state representatives sit and decide legislation in. It was a truly captivating experience to realize I was in a place that most Americans would never get to be in their entire lifetime.
To top off this wonderful experience, we had the Honorable Butler Derrick, a retired senator, speak with us about his life in Congress. And that was only half a day of the 10 days that I was – again I say privileged – to experience.
And lastly, those wonderful simulations. In predetermined groups, I and peers I grew close to participated in various simulations of the roles of government. These simulations included executive branch, judicial branch and legislative branch simulations, called If I Were President, Testing the Constitution, and Model Congress, respectively.
These are the highlights for me of an amazing 10 days I will always remember. It wasn’t just the things I learned, but the diverse people with rich backgrounds that I met and the friends I made that made this trip so unforgettable.
I couldn’t have done any of it, however, without a wonderful supporting community that sponsored me and donated funds toward my trip. These wonderful organizations and people include Jody Hansen and Napa Valley Cast Stone, The Lions clubs of Oakley and Bethel Island, the Knights of Columbus of St. Anthony Parish, Friends of Oakley, Drs. Lamb and Morrice, Cypress Veterinary Hospital, American Legion Post 151, Disabled American Veterans of the Mt. Diablo Chapter 154, Jim Frazier, Pat Anderson, my grandparents Virginia and W.L. Brown, Denise and Bill Arnold, and all others I may have forgotten.
As I have now duly proven, a little help goes a long way. Thank you all.