Every summer between 90 and 100 outstanding high school students from all over the country share a week-long educational fellowship in our nation’s capital while vying for college scholarships as part of the NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) The mission of the Y.E.S. program is to give students the opportunity to explore their passion for our American government, Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, encourage them to become responsible citizens who participate in the democratic process, and empower them to return to their communities with a proactive voice for the Second Amendment. Through participation in the program’s events, students compete for more than $60,000 in college scholarships.
What do the lucky winners of our application process get to enjoy during their expenses-paid trip to the nation's capital? Y.E.S. students get "insider access" to a Congressional session (sometimes some face-to-face time with our lawmakers!), guided tours of our nation's most beautiful and moving monuments, as well as up close and personal time with the curators of the NRA National Firearms Museum...and every year, we make sure there's an awesome surprise.
Entry into the Y.E.S. program requires submission of a completed application form, high school transcript, a three-page essay on the Second Amendment, a one page personal statement and three letters of recommendation. These students are the best and brightest among their high school peers, actively engaging in academic, leadership and community service.
Since its inception in 1996, more than 1,000 students have graduated from Y.E.S and over $600,000 in scholarships have been awarded. Please read what some of our alumni had to say about what they learned and gained from this experience!
“The Y.E.S. program taught me about the Second Amendment and the great freedoms we have been blessed with as Americans. Y.E.S. also challenged me to be a leader in my community. As part of my Grand Scholarship application I helped to start the Texas Y.E.S. program.” – Wyatt Saltarelli, TX Class of 2012
“I’m still amazed at the impact Y.E.S. had on my life. I learned about American government, the NRA and most importantly, about myself. Before Y.E.S., I hadn’t realized my full potential. Y.E.S. taught me that I could give a decent improvisational speech, how to monitor a debate and how to lead with confidence! I will always cherish the memories and lessons of that week back in the summer of 2002. Thank you Y.E.S. and the Friends of NRA!” -Emilie Siverling, WI, Class of 2002
”My participation in Y.E.S. sparked an interest in government and political activism. Even though my career has led me down a path in medicine, my involvement in political issues and furthering my understanding of these issues has continued to grow. In the future, I would like to pursue a position within the legislature of my state or the federal government. In addition, shooting sports continues to play an important role in my life. Whether I am hunting with my family or enjoying an afternoon at the shooting range, my respect and promotion of the second amendment lives strong within my life.” -Kristin Ondecko, PA, Class of 1997
“One particular memory for which I thank Friends of the NRA was being selected as one of two alumni chaperones for the 2004 Y.E.S. class. What a great week, and what a great group of participants! Being on the chaperone side of things this summer was definitely a growing experience and a lot of fun. I learned a great deal through the participants and saw a lot of potential growth in each of them. I am very thankful for being able to participate in Y.E.S. twice.” – Tracy Whitman, NC, Class of 1999