My Experience at the 2018 FRS Youth Tour
By Morgan Herzog
Editor’s note: Morgan Herzog is a student from Osakis Public School. She was selected by Arvig to attend the 2018 Foundation for Rural Services (FRS) Youth Tour, June 2-6 in Washington, D.C. Herzog joined more than 100 other high school students from rural America for an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, where she got in inside view at the legislation and governmental process of the telecommunication industry. Arvig asked Morgan to write a summary about her experience so we could share it with our blog readers and customers.
I want to first start off by thanking the people at Arvig who made it possible for me to attend the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour. It was an amazing trip where I was able to see amazing sights in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., learn about rural broadband, and make lifelong friends. It’s a trip I will never forget and will always wish it could have been longer.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about the flight and not knowing anyone there at first. This was my first time flying, but I was lucky enough to have a smooth flight, despite delays. My flight wasn’t the only one delayed. There weren’t many flights that landed in DC on time that day, as there were storms in DC or somewhere in the flight plan. The night I arrived, there was a dinner, and after eating, we met with our teams and chaperones. We played a few icebreaker games and then headed to bed.
The next day started at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and a briefing on the day’s activities. After this, we boarded the buses and went to Arlington National Cemetery. The first day was filled with rain, but we were given ponchos at the cemetery and almost everyone had umbrellas or rain jackets. The rain didn’t stop us from seeing everything. When we got to Arlington, we boarded a guided trolley that drove through the cemetery. At the end, we got off and watched the changing of the guards and then headed back down to the meeting spot.
From there, we headed to the Smithsonian Museums, where we were able to explore on our own. I visited the National Air and Space Museum, the Art Museum and the National Museum of American History. My favorite one was American History. They had many cool exhibits about America. My favorite would definitely be one called The Price of Freedom: Americans at War. After the museums, we went to Union Station for dinner and then a guided night tour of the monuments.
The night tour was my favorite part of the youth tour. We were able to see the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. The monuments were even more amazing in person than I thought they would be. On this tour, we were also able to learn things about the city and monuments that many of us had previously not known—such as with the Korean War Memorial. No matter where you are standing, one of the statues is watching you. Of the monuments, my favorite was the Lincoln Memorial. After this, we headed back to the hotel.
The next morning brought with it the first educational session, which took place in a meeting area in the Capitol Building. In this educational session, we heard from people who are working to improve rural broadband and help provide more opportunities for small schools using the internet and technologies. Most of the people we heard from came from rural communities, as well, so they understand the struggles that we can experience with broadband. We also had the opportunity to speak with people who work for different senators, which was very interesting. After this, we were given a guided tour of the Capitol Building, and visited the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.
After the Capitol Building, we went on a bus tour of the Jefferson Memorial and the FDR Memorial. Each of these were very interesting. After that, we went bowling for a couple of hours then went back to the hotel for a breakout session where we were able to hear about the different issues that were happening in other kid’s towns and schools, such as substance abuse, lack of arts and entertainment and agricultural issues. It was cool to hear about how rural towns all over the country could share the same issues.
The next day and last day started with another educational session at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Here, we heard from the FCC commissioner Brendan Carr, chairman Ajit Pai, and people who talked about robocalls, cybersecurity, telehealth and rural call completion. We were taught how to avoid and identify robocalls. We also learned how technology is being used in security, health, and how cellular reception is being improved in rural communities.
After that, we went to the Newseum, which is a museum dedicated to protecting and celebrating the first amendment. This place was a lot cooler than I thought it was going to be. The work and time put into this place is amazing. They have the front page from almost every major newspaper or event, going back more than 100 years.
After this, we went to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. It was really cool to walk through his house and grounds knowing Washington had walked there himself. It was also cool seeing where he and Martha, his wife, are buried. After that, we went back to the hotel for a farewell dance and dinner. It was great to have one last night to have fun with our newly made friends. The next morning when it came time to head to the airport was my least favorite part of the youth tour. It was hard to say goodbye to new friends. We had only known each other for about three days, but we became lifelong friends. I look forward to seeing them again in the future.
This youth tour was amazing and I hope that Arvig continues to send kids there long into the future. It’s a great opportunity to learn and explore the nation’s capital city. I want to thank Arvig again for all you did for me to make this trip happen.
Morgan is the third student to attend the FRS Youth Tour on behalf of Arvig. In 2017, Jordan Brink, a student at Wadena-Deer Creek High School was selected to attend.