The NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) of 2017 was well underway as this year’s class explored the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Arriving under thunderstorm warnings, everyone was wide-eyed as they approached the entrance ready to observe what was inside. Corporal Walker, a Humanitarian Ambassador,stationed in Quantico, Virginia, welcomed everyone with a gigantic smile and proceeded to give a general rundown of the museum and all of the exhibits. During this exchange, Walker instilled the importance of asking a veteran how they are doing or thanking them for their service. Our veterans are a vital piece of history, the foundation of our great country, and they have wonderful stories of bravery (and, yes, some shenanigans as well) from their days protecting us. When Walker was asked what his job in the Marines was, his proud response was: “I’m a Grunt!”
As the Class of 2017 feasted their eyes and minds on the history on display, they still found time to discuss their own future goals. Quinton Taylor, a student from Ohio, would love to participate in International Skeet competition one day. Quinton’s family life did not involve firearms, so he was pleasantly surprised when his parents were on board with the idea of shooting, a sport he loves. Learning how to shoot in 4-H, he quickly realized his passion for competing in duck and shotgun. His highest score is 195/200 in an ATA Standard Trap competition. His favorite firearm to date is his BT99 Shotgun that he acquired about two years after entering the shooting arena.
Denise Shaffer of Houston, Texas, has her sights set high on International Relations while attending Harvard or Yale. Her first shooting experience was during the 2017 Texas Y.E.S. Summit. During this adventure she has been able to learn, in detail, what the Second Amendment truly stands for. Coming to DC and experiencing the political environment in person has been an exciting quest for knowledge. Proving once and for all that even high achievers succumb to a little procrastination, she joked that she will be filling out her college applications when she gets home...probably turning them in at the latest possible deadline of 11:59 p.m.
Iceley Andaya of Hawaii looks up to her favorite person, her “Pappa,” a Vietnam Veteran. He instilled the love of country and the importance of the Second Amendment and family. Taking part in her Civil Air Patrol unit during high school propelled her towards a career in Criminal Justice or becoming a pilot in the United States Air Force. During her first visit to the NRA Range, Iceley was able to show off her shooting skills as the captain of her school’s air rifle team.
Alex Henry of Arkansas, whom we caught enjoying the Hand-To-Hand in Belleau Wood 1917-1918 exhibit, has his sights set on a Business degree. When not assisting with the family roofing business, he enjoys volunteering for his local Friends of NRA events. His favorite gun is his Glock 19, Silver 9mm that was a gift from his dad who is also the Friends of NRA, Washington County Chapter chairman.
Jared Lockhart, winner of North Carolina’s 2016 Y.E.S. program, aspires to become a Mechanical Engineer. His grandfather is a Korean Veteran. He would like to attend Virginia Tech or Virginia Military Institute with high hopes of serving his country.
We're sure that this is only the beginning of the legacy of citizenship these kids will create.