Leaders are not born, they are made; at least that is what the newest addition to my T-shirt collection says. Earlier this month, I ventured to Jefferson City to attend the 67th annual Youth in Government convention. I was all set with my bill and ready to take the house floor to defend it, but boy I was under prepared for what I was going to experience that weekend.

As I took my first few steps onto the House of Representatives floor my breath vanished. It was a beautiful space that I was both intimidated and inspired by. When the house took session for the first time I was too nervous to say anything, but by the beginning of the second day, I was in full-on debate mode.

Going in I was sure that my bill would be my favorite to discuss, but some of the topics that students brought to the floor had me in awe. We discussed controversial topics such as conversion therapy, immigration, women’s rights, rape sentences, and many more, as mature young adults. I found myself feeling extremely passionate about other’s ideas as well as very opposed to some.

Being surrounded by people my age that share my passion for the future of America was exhilarating. Getting to learn from and bounce ideas off of them was even better. I met some girls that shared my values and quite a few of my interests as well and in three short days we became great friends.

One of the best things about Youth in Government was that despite having a wide variety of political opinions present, everyone was able to have a good time. The debate on the floor was very heated, but the heat never overflowed outside the room.

Listening to the bills that were debated and passed gave me a lot of hope for the future of our country. Even though the recent presidential election did not turn out as some of us had wanted, I foresee true American greatness in the near future as some of these Youth in Government students aspire to take real government positions.

I also discovered that America has a long way to go before it will run into a generation that strives to level the playing field giving people from all walks of life a fair chance to excel.

Youth in Government was an amazing experience that filled me anticipation and high hopes for the future. I cannot wait to see what next year brings.