Caden DeMers attends the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.

St. Patrick Catholic High School Eighth Grade Student Caden DeMers attended the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) in Washington, D.C. last week. He was nominated by one of his teachers at St. Patrick to attend the conference. JrNYLC in one of the programs offered by Envision, and specifically is the premier leadership development program for middle school students.

At the Conference, seventh and eighth grade students from across the country have the opportunity to spend six days in and around the nation’s capital. These emerging leaders experience the power of democracy among the monuments, become inspired by exemplary stories of courage, collaborate to discover solutions to some of the issues they face today, and spend a night in a museum among new friends.

My favorite part of the program was exploring the museums and learning about the history. I also enjoyed the daily, leadership-focused group activities. I hope to be able to show my leadership qualities by using some of what I’ve learned and pass that onto my peers. I also enjoyed the speech from the keynote speaker Anthony Robles, who was born with one leg and became a three-time All-American and NCAA wrestling champion. His drive and determination are things I hope to strive for in my school and life. – Caden DeMers

About the Envision Experience: In 1985, a Connecticut educator saw an opportunity to make the world her classroom. With the help of a congressional staff member, she arranged a trip for her students to visit the nation’s capital to attend the second Presidential Inauguration of Ronald Reagan. The students embraced Washington, D.C. — they met members of Congress, saw the monuments, and experienced democracy in action. The excursion was deemed a huge success; however, the teacher and the staffer soon realized that this was no ordinary field trip.  The opportunity to learn through experience had a profound effect on these high school students. They not only discovered a new and deeper relationship with the world around them, but they also began to realize that they were capable of achieving so much more than they previously imagined. They realized the true power of their potential.

Thirty-plus years later, Envision has grown from a teacher with an idea to a company that provides 17 different career, leadership, and technology programs that take place in cities across the United States and the world. This coming summer alone, we will conduct 108 individual sessions at 35 different locations, including programs in China, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.

View photos of Caden’s experience below!