Betty Takes DC: Day 1

A look into the beginning of my adventure

7:19 am  

Currently, I am shaking from excitement at gate 69 of terminal C of the Kansas City International airport. I am about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as a delegate of the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) to Washington DC. What is USSYP you may ask, another bureaucratic agency we’re studying in government? No, it is a scholarship program set up through the United States Senate in 1962 and financed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

The program selects two students from each state to experience a week in our national’s capital, meeting with many of the most powerful people in our government along the way. I continue with a long tradition of having a Shawnee Mission West Viking accepted into the program. A tradition that can only be contributed to the helpful guidance of Mr. Ron Walker, APUSH and Econ extraordinaire.

My anticipation of this trip has been building up since I was first accepted into the program in early December. The Facebook group set up for the participants has been filled with debates over politics, ideology, and current events since day one; a huge treat for a political nerd like myself. Some have been very heated, which only added to my immense enthusiasm.

They are now boarding my flight. Next time I type something up I will be in Washington!


8:45 pm

Today has been very relaxed. My flight went great, including being seated next to a delegate from Missouri, Gabriel Unruh of Platte County. After arriving at the Dulles airport, our military mentors rounded us up and had us hang out until other delegate’s planes arrived. We then road a charter bus to The Mayflower Hotel, a posh and historic hotel very close to DC’s famous Mall.

The first order of business was to socialize among ourselves, the military mentors, and a few alumni from past USSYP. Standing around the Mayflower’s grand ballroom, vaguely remembering faces from Facebook and trying to remember those whom we had already introduced ourselves to proved to be slightly awkward, yet fun. So far, I have really liked most of my fellow delegates and have forged new friendships with a few.

During dinner we received our marching orders from the Director of Student Affairs for USSYP, a strait-laced former Jarhead. His humor gave the otherwise boring listing of rules a fresh take. In addition to Mr. Cox, the president of the USSYP’s alumni association gave a rousing speech about seizing the opportunities presented to us this week.

Finally, we concluded our official duties with a meeting with our military mentor’s groups. My mentor, Lt. Chapman, is very personable. I greatly anticipate getting to know her and my fellow peer group better throughout the week.



The most interesting part of the day to me was the strict guidelines regarding social media use and decorum. We were talked to about social media at length; a speech I firmly believe was inspired by one Miss Emma Sullivan of Shawnee Mission East. The infamous tweeter who shared the gem of, “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.” during the 2011 Youth in Government session.