By: Chevas Shaw, Yorktown (June 2009)

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Upon arriving at Smith Hall, I realized that this was not going to be anything at all like I had ever done before. Not only were the “Boys’ Staters” a perfect blend of all the different types of Nebraskans, but the atmosphere was one that I had never before experienced. Never before had I seen so many young minds focused on learning and bettering themselves and their fellow citizens, and scarcely can I believe that I will see it again.

The kids here are nothing but the Michael Jordans, Muhammad Alis, and Wayne Gretzkys of politics. While most of the young, half-sculpted minds here will probably choose to pursue a career, life, and expertise in something other than politics, this experience will stay with them the rest of their lives. That is what I immediately noticed. It was like a bucket of water to the face on a blistering hot day; once I stepped off that bus and onto the hard pavement of the campus I felt it. I felt the impressions that were going to be made within the next few hours; I felt the guiding hand of all the administrators, counselors, and junior counselors.

The fact that this program was designed to bring people totally out of their element and see how they handle it is both thought-provoking and creatively stimulating. The idea that people for over half of a century have been coming to Lincoln and learning and enjoying themselves is amazing. Judging by what I have seen so far, I think this program will be around for many more full centuries to come.

The people here are awe-inspiring. This program, these people, send people to shake the hand of the President of the United States. That must be an unforgettable rush of both nerves and thoughts. The amount of doors this week that will open for me and for everyone else here can make an unforgettable, potentially life changing, experience. I look forward to being surprised and altered by this “jewel” of a program in a “treasure chest” of leadership paths open to youths today.

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