Betty Takes DC: Reflection

The conclusion of an adventure of a lifetime.

For a month now, I have tried to encapsulate my USSYP experience into words. Instead, I share disjointed memories of powerful speakers, prodigious delegates and phenomenal desserts.  Perhaps as I grow old and wise, pensive and reflective, the words will come easier. However, words can’t hope to sum up my experience.

I realized I would never be able to give justice to the magnitude of Washington Week on the Thursday during which we visited NASA, met President Obama, and attended a National Symphony concert. That night, as I tried to summarize the day’s events for my Dad, I forgot to mention our question and answer session with astronauts on the International Space Station. I had communicated with space and failed to remember it!

Returning home to normal life was difficult to say the least, mainly trying to pare down my coffee consumption from every meal to once a day. I found myself borderline bragging to all of my friends about the people I had met. Not the speakers, but the delegates. My fellow delegates who astonish me every time I get onto Facebook with the work they are doing and the honors they are receiving.

Who would have guessed that I would associate with people who actually got into Ivy League schools? (emphasis on the plural) Perhaps it is just my humble Midwestern roots, but I wouldn’t have. The eclectic bunch that made up the 104 delegates was the group of my dreams: outgoing, effervescent, erudite teens that all share a love of politics.

In addition to a fabulous group of 103 new friends to fawn over, USSYP gave me a renewed love of my homeland. By repeating over and over again that there are actually things to do in Kansas City, and explaining how it is split down the middle by a state line, I gained a new sense of entitlement. I am truly blessed to have been raised in America’s heartland, where I can relate to almost all the differing groups of people, and am only a moderate length plane ride away from anywhere I want to go in this remarkable country.

I know the life-changing event that is Washington Week will stay seared in my memory forever. No luxury was spared by the Hearst Foundation in giving us the inside look at our nation’s history steeped capital city. The people, the experiences and the fabulous business professional attire combined to create memories that I will forever cherish.