Last week, 25 rising ninth graders visited Gettysburg to participate in Youth Quest, a 4-day, 3-night experience that builds and develops leadership skills by exploring the history of Gettysburg and interacting with college students, faculty and educators. Activities took place from July 28 to August 1, 2013 on the fields and farms of Gettysburg National Military Park, the park museum and on the campus of Gettysburg College. The 25 students who attended were nominated by their teachers who attended the 2012 Richard Bartol, Jr. Educators’ Conference.
“To learn is to lead yourself into a better understanding of both past and present.” This quote from a Youth Quest applicant says it all and helps illustrate the general theme of the program: “It’s your time to lead.”
Youth Quest is sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park, the Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg College and the Student Conservation Association. It is a product of the Education 150 initiative and also includes the Richard Bartol, Jr. Educators’ Conference and student field trips to Gettysburg. Plans are underway to continue to present all three components in future years beginning in 2014 with another educators’ conference. All three components of Education 150 are for underserved, lower-income school districts and communities.
Interactive and immersion experiences included exploring the battlefield through the eyes of the military leaders, learning how their decisions influenced the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg and the course of American history, and a “Night at the Museum” with exclusive access to museum exhibits and the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting.
The students got a taste of real life college experiences as well, living in dorm rooms at Gettysburg College, meeting professors, and interacting with college students who served as camp leaders. During small group activities the students also learned and developed leadership skills, personal strategies, and goals.
One of the lasting impressions was when the students walked in the footsteps of President Lincoln when he made his 24-hour visit to Gettysburg in 1863 to dedicate the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, where he delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Youth Quest and the other results of the Education 150 initiative support the National Park Service’s Call to Action C2A #2 Step by Step and C2A #3: History Lesson.
Youth Quest Stats
25 students were accepted into Youth Quest.
3 students from West Virginia
8 students from Maryland
14 from Pennsylvania
10 were from urban environments and 15 were from rural areas.
Gettysburg National Military Park – a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American history. http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm
Gettysburg Foundation – The Gettysburg Foundation is a private, non-profit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg. The Foundation raised funds for and now operates the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, which opened in April 2008. In addition to operating the Museum and Visitor Center, the Foundation has a broad preservation mission that includes land, monument and artifact preservation, education and battlefield rehabilitation— all in support of the National Park Service’s goals at Gettysburg. http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org/
Gettysburg College – Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective, national four- year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. The College is nationally known for its Civil War programs. The College’s Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC) serves as an intellectual and experiential hub of leadership, providing students and alumni with knowledge, experiences, and resources. The GLC is playing an integral part in the Richard Bartol, Jr. Youth Quest. http://www.gettysburg.edu/
Student Conservation Association – a national conservation force of college and high school-aged members who serve America’s parks, forest, refuges, seashores and communities. For more than 50 years, the SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. http://thesca.org/
Thanks to the Gettysburg Foundation for the photos and help with this blog.
By Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, Gettysburg National Military Park