So my oldest son left on a jet plane — He took off for Washington, D.C., where he is the nominee to represent California at the National Young Leaders Conference.
I’m so excited for him. The event sounds terrific. It was expensive, and the nominees were encouraged to showcase some of the leadership skills for which they were nominated and do some fundraising, so Ricky tried. He asked for sponsorships from friends and family (and man, our family and friends were amazing and supportive!), and then he had to go out to companies to do some fundraising, too, which was great experience for him.
Honda was very helpful, and several local establishments donated (including a hand-written note and donation from our favorite pizza place across the street that we literally run across the street for at least once a month!) One food place here in Orange County — Olamendi’s — is owned by a man named Carlos Olamendi who called Ricky personally and asked him about the conference. Carlos was very excited for Rick to go — he said he himself had been offered opportunities to go to D.C. and got to meet so many interesting people, and he was really happy to see another young local guy going. He invited Ricky into one of his restaurants and showed him all his pictures on the wall, then asked Rick if he’d like to leave a collection box and he’d encourage people to support Ricky’s efforts. I thought the whole thing was really cool of Carlos, and Ricky swung by the restaurant from time to time to see how his collection box was doing and got to know Carlos a little more each time.
It’s just so neat that there are so many people ready and willing to mentor and support.
Ricky’s grandpa lives in the D.C. area, so he’s having Rick over for a couple of nights and has also been very helpful and encouraging about the whole trip. He flew Rick there on his own dime and even flew Superman to join them for two days — so it was a “three-generations” trip for a little while.
Now Rick’s been shuttled to the conference, where he’ll hang out for another six days. Not only will he be learning how to navigate airports and airport transfers by himself, but at the conference he’s going to do some debating over political issues, meet the political press corps (have breakfast with them, I believe), visit the House of Representatives, attend several workshops, do some “if I were president” debates, and so forth. (We had to buy him a suit and several ties!) He’s going to be running all over D.C. this week, so if you’re there, look for him. : )
I’m so excited for him. This is right up his ally. …