The Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge – Los Angeles Chapter interviewed 5 cadets from the Viking Battalion to attend the Spirit of American Youth Leadership Program from 28 April – 1 May 2022 in Valley Forge, Pa. The Spirit of America Youth Leadership Program is a four-day residential conference for high school students. During the program, students interact with experts on citizenship, democracy, the judiciary, the political process, and the free enterprise system. The program includes thought-provoking lectures, historical tours, and experiential workshops, all designed to develop leadership skills and deepen an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of engaged citizenship.
The selected cadets were: C/1LT Kailey Soltero, C/1LT Samantha Rodriguez, C/MSG Tanya Juarez-Nolasco, C/MSG Jocelyn Garcia, C/PFC Becsayra Araiza & her twin sister Yokayra. The trip was paid for by the Los Angeles Chapter. There were 29 students from the Los Angeles area attending with our Senior Army Instructor and his wife (Trini) serving as chaperones for the trip.
The students participated in Mock Congressional Debate, Free Enterprise Challenge, Leadership Workshops, Visits to Valley Forge, and Historic Philadelphia, our nation’s birthplace. The students were visited by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Dr. Bruce Murphy – Professor of Civil Rights, Lafayette College, Dr. Graham Lee – Professor Emeritus of Political Science, St. Joseph’s University, Chris Rothey – Chairman of the Board for Valley Forge, and Mr. Edward Turzanski – Templeton Fellow, Co-Chairman - Center for the Study of Terrorism.
The students were able to visit several historical places before leaving to include Liberty Bell, Betty Ross, and Ben Franklin homes. While at Valley Forge all were able to see where General Washington placed his 12,000 troops and his residence as well.
The trip was very informative and enjoyed by all the cadets and students in attendance. This was an once-in-a-lifetime trip that the cadets will remember and matches our curriculum on the importance of being a good citizen.