Above is me and itty-bitty Al Gore. Seeing Al Gore speak was just par for the course during the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, for which I was a Faculty Advisor. I did this through the same company that I worked National Young Scholars Program for this past summer. The hours were long, sometimes allowing us under four hours of sleep a night, and the logistical planning was sub-par but we got through and I think most of us had really wonderful experiences.
I was entrusted with the education of a group of 28 high school students, most of whom were freshmen with a single senior in the mix who was a great sport. We were intended only to have two hours of actual curriculum with them--and of course a good portion of this was supposed to be spent on ice breakers. However, our site lead was really amazing and had us lead a Presidential Group Meeting on the first full day of the conference and let us pick which PGM curricula we would teach in our next two meetings. While fourteen-year-olds are not my choice age group (particularly ones who do not believe in global warming), it was worth the experience.
At our three conferences (Presidential Youth Inauguaral Conference, Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, and University Presidential Inaugural Conference) we had a total of 15,000 students. At PYIC, we had 7,500 students. In our Presidential Group/Housing Site we had the most students in any one place: nearly 800 scholars comprised the Taft Presidential Group. My co-workers in Taft were all amazing. Anytime we were out and about with PYIC, Taft was the group that took the initiative to get things done. Though a lot of people left the conferences incredibly frustrated, I think we were all proud of what we had done together. Fingers-crossed that I'll see many of them again this summer for GYLC in China. The Westpark Best Western in Tyson's Corner will always hold a special place in my heart.
(Westpark Taft image from my housing lead, Kristan Corcoran)