Every year, the NRA invites about 50 high school students from around the country to Washington DC to debate the nation’s gun laws. Students learn about issues, study pros and cons of gun control, and visit the National Firearms Museum.
They also get to practice shooting skills – something my son is really hoping to do!
In real life (as opposed to blog life) I am a Right Wing Conservative with possible Libertarian leanings, I’ve tried to keep Single Mom Smiling more about drawing people to God rather than to my ideal political viewpoints, mostly because I think our world is in such bad shape only God can save it and because I know firsthand that, when life gets really bad, God is still there – politicians and the law are not.
(But rhetoric like that does not draw people closer to God so let me get on with my post!)
About a month ago, we discovered the NRA has a week long conference in Washington DC every summer (NRA YES Youth Education Summit). Despite the high level of competition to get into the program, Troy decided he want to give it a shot (no pun intended!) 😉
The NRA YES Program and My Son
Just submitting the application for the NRA YES program is a LOT of work requiring an essay, a personal statement, bibliographies, three letters of recommendation, high school transcripts proving a minimum 3.0 GPA, a list of extra-curricular activities, and the application itself.
Troy wrote a three page essay including quotes from our Constitution and other documents. For a kid who would say his worst subject is English, his essay was beautiful!
(On a side note: As writer I’ve never understood the irony behind my boys’ dislike of language! I’ve chosen not to look into it too deeply for fear of the years of therapy I (or they) will need if we begin analyzing things like this).
Troy spoke to three people for his required letters of recommendation. Two are close family friends who wrote beautiful letters, but Troy also wanted to add more prestige to his application and sought out a state senator.
This senator does not represent our region, but Troy did not just want the prestige; he wanted someone he respected, and we were willing to travel to do this. We found out this senator, a friend of friends, would be holding a debate and we made the trip to see him. Troy introduced himself, and I was thankful for the senator’s willingness to take the time to meet with my son even though we may never vote for him.
And I was really impressed with my son for leaving our comfortable, small, friendly, but sometimes limiting, town and meeting a “celebrity” with a firm handshake, eye contact, and confidence despite his nervousness.
Troy is an artistic kid too; he put together an amazing power point presentation, beautifully and creatively mentioning the attacks on 9-11, the Sandy Hook shootings, his concerns about guns in schools (an issue he is uncertain of), Veterans we admire and so much more. He ends the presentation with the phrase, “This is who I stand for,” as photos of his brothers zoom across the screen ending with his Grandfather, a Navy WWII pilot, holding Kaleb.
Troy has worked so hard for the NRA YES Program!
Will we be disappointed if he does not get accepted into the NRA Youth Education Summit?
The competition for the NRA YES is fierce, while the gun control advocates try to make Second Amendment supporters seem illiterate, this is a biased presentation formed to advance the gun control agenda and followed by too many people with good intentions but too little real knowledge. Real NRA supporters are highly intelligent and beginning to get their word out despite a lack of government funding and heart wrenching publicity the opposition receives.
By submitting the application, we have both learned so much about the man Troy is becoming. He met with someone he did not know but whom he admires; he thought long and hard about issues and objectively questions even his own “side’s” positions in some cases; he used his creative talents to show a bit of who he is and to tastefully promote himself, and he has gained confidence in who he is and in who he will one day become.
And so have I.
And that is why I have included this NRA gun rights post, not so much to promote gun rights (although I’d proudly do that too!) but because when I think of my baby going off to college soon, I picture the kid
who, when we told him to steal the soccer ball at 3 years old, would stop midfield and tell us stealing wasn’t nice,
who, in 3rd grade, would lose his lunch box at least 2-5 times a week and forget his homework through 9th grade,
and who, just last year, would exclaim every day as we pulled up to the school in the rush of morning car pool, “Oh no! I forgot to put on my shoes!”
But my baby is not that kid anymore.
It amazes me how much maturity he has gained, even in just the past year.
He has faced so many challenges in his short life, and he has met each with amazing pull-it-togetherness overall. While he is still funny, sweet, and adorable in his own way, I am coming to realize that he is no longer that funny sweet, adorable, but lost child he once was.
And I cannot wait to see where he takes his life next and to continue to watch as he becomes the Man his Father in Heaven made him to be.
Thank you NRA. I hope my son makes it into your program, but either way, we have both learned so much already, and I couldn’t be more proud of the man I will soon send out into the world.
God Bless you Troy, I love you 100% forever and ever.
For a political blog that is funny, thoughtful, down to earth, from a guy has faith and who “gets it”, please check out Matt Walsh’s Blog!
For more information about the NRA, please click here.
NRA Youth Education Summit, please click here.
To learn more about Conservatives, please click here.
To learn more about Libertarians, please click here.