Cayuga High School sophomore Aidan Gonzalez attended the Government-in-Action Youth Tour in summer 2022. And he offers a strong endorsement of the experience for any student contemplating sending in an application, even if it took a bit of coaxing for him to apply.
“My mom was encouraging me and saying, ‘You should go, what if you never get to go? This is a once in a lifetime experience.’ And it truly was.”
The Youth Tour application can be found here, and students have until January 16 to submit them.
“To me the application process was pretty easy,” Gonzalez said. “I started pre-writing a little bit early once I figured out the topic. I thought it was overall pretty simple. It just takes a little bit of time but it’s very worth it in the end.”
Going to Washington, D.C., would be an exciting trip for anyone, but it’s even more exciting when you get to experience it with a new group of friends from all over the United States. Gonzalez noted that this trip is a great way for students to step out of their comfort zones and prepare to experience the world before adulthood.
“Before going, I was a little on edge because I had never flown before,” he said. “That was a good experience, too, and getting over my fear of flying.”
One of the biggest perks of the Youth Tour trip is an organized and efficient itinerary that gets participants in and out of the many museums, memorials and events that are available.
“This D.C. trip was easily a 10 out of 10. You get to go to all the monuments, museums, memorials, and hang out with friends,” Gonzalez said. “The amount of money and the value of it all that they will put forth for you to go on this trip is well worth it. You are getting to go to all these places for free and get into most of these places pretty fast. It’s overall quick, efficient, and valuable to yourself.”
Another privilege Gonzalez had was to be one of four Texas Youth Tour delegates to lay a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
“The reason I applied for the wreath laying ceremony is because I wanted to honor my great-great-uncle who fought in World War II. I was able to witness this beautiful art and just live in history,” explained Gonzalez. “The wreath-laying ceremony was an honor to be a participant in.”