My trip to Washington, D.C.
By Michael Aguire, Member
Prudential Leads Team
I had the honor to be a part of the Prudential Leads Team to represent JAG Arizona at the JAG National Student Leadership Conference which has been held in D.C. every year. I was encouraged by my JAG coordinator, Mr. Kartler, to interview for the position on the JAG Leads Team and was one of eight candidates to be selected to be on the team. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I learned much about myself and what it takes to be a leader as well as better individual.
Our team consisted of five young ladies and three young men including myself. We began bonding and becoming a team before we left for the conference. We literally became brothers and sisters on this trip and will have that relationship until the day we die. While we met with the Prudential branch in D.C., I used the example to describe our team that we were all made from the same cookie dough simply cut out into different shapes. That example describes us in that we all are so much alike, not so much with our personalities but with the drive and steel inside us. As we were getting to know each other we all found out that we all come from a similar background of trials and hardships that forced us to step up and be the person in our family that people looked to for assurance and for help when in need. Because of the pressure to provide and to be there we made mistakes that took us to the limit and made us realize we wanted something better out of life than what we had been living. Those experiences drove us to strive for better and that is how we found JAG and through JAG the opportunity to attend the NSLC.
When we arrived in D.C. we were all like little kids staring at all the wonders we saw there. We were in awe at the memorials, buildings and historical sites we had the privilege to visit. We were out of the beautiful hotel by 6:30 am and off to the conference or to see other sites. At the end of the day, we would meet in our specialist’s room before curfew to reflect on what we had learned that day. Each day we learned so much and were inspired by the stories of historical leaders as well as people we had the opportunity to meet. We all are stronger, deeper and more rounded individuals for having had this experience.
We are still receiving many opportunities for scholarships, internships, and jobs from this trip. It is such a valuable experience and opportunity that everyone eligible should be preparing for the chance to interview to be a Prudential Leads Team member. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and I encourage anyone who wants something better to try.
A special thank you to the Prudential Foundation for sponsoring the JAG Leads Team members to attend the JAG National Leadership Academy (formerly called the JAG National Student Leadership Conference) in Washington, D.C.