National Youth Leader in D.C. | My Family Travels
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I do not travel often. My dad doesn’t know what “vacation” means. So when the opportunity to go on a trip to our nation’s capitol came in the mail, I was ecstatic. I was a little nervous about being away from home without knowing anyone, but I knew that I had earned my spot in the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) on Law and Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). I was (and still am) grateful for this opportunity. A week in Washington D.C. was a memory that will last a lifetime, and the friends I have made there will last even longer.
On Tuesday, July 6th my dad drove me to Falls Church, Virginia. I was staying in a five star hotel called The Westin at Tyson’s Corner. I would never have been in such a high-class hotel for a family vacation. I lived with two roommates, and I am so glad I got to spend the week with these girls. Liz was from Wisconsin, and Kelly was from California. Together we learned shower schedules and alarm clocks. That helped me to appreciate that I will soon be having permanent roommates in college.
(picture of Westin entrance taken from The Westin website)
The most important things in my life are loved ones and food. One of my favorite places to eat during the trip was Union Station, a major train depot in Washington D.C. It’s a mall, a train station and a food court all under one roof. One of the most interesting places to eat during the trip was the Mall at Tyson’s Corner in Falls Church. On the lowest floor, a sushi bar called Panda Express moved the food to customers on conveyor belts.
The Forum was an educational experience. We had speakers come visit, and we went on different field trips. I visited the Steptoe & Johnson law firm in D.C. where I learned more about international law. NYLF also brought us to see tourist attractions in the area.  I saw both the F.D.R. Memorial and the Jefferson Monument at night. That was a patriotic experience, and I would want everyone to see the waterfalls of the F.D.R Memorial glowing under the stars.
(personal photograph of the FDR Memorial)
Not only did I view monuments and memorials, but I got to be in the seat of government. Scholars from the Forum were allowed into the Supreme Court. As an aspiring lawyer; I was awestruck to see the highest court in the land. I was also pleased to see Sandra Day O’Conner’s robe and chair. She was the first female justice, and I take a lot of inspiration from her. The other inspiring building that I saw while in D.C. was The Library of Congress. As a book lover, I was in heaven. The building itself was a work of art. The rainbow-colored stain-glassed windows, the Greco-Roman statues, the detailed paintings, and the patchwork mosaics were all wonderful pieces of art that made the whole, The Library of Congress.
I would travel to D.C. again in a heartbeat. If I am nominated to be a part of NYLF again, I will go. Washington D.C. is such an enriching environment. History and future are present in one city. Smithsonian museums, monuments, and the national government all in one place open to the public. Traveling to and through D.C. is one of the most fulfilling trips an American can take.
(image taken from NYLF.org)

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