James at Dc

In a remarkable adventure of leadership and self-discovery, James Kingsbury, a dedicated JAG-K student from Larned, recently embarked on a 6-day trip to Washington DC for the National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA). The NSLA, a capstone leadership experience for National Career Association state officers and local chapter leaders, provided James with hands-on learning, real-world experiences, and valuable networking opportunities.

When reflecting on his journey, James shared the incredible sights and experiences that left a lasting impact on him. From exploring the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he saw the iconic Black Panther costume, to visiting the graves of historical figures like John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery, and witnessing a house lawmaker being expelled from office in the Capitol building—each moment was surreal.

When asked about his initial expectations versus the reality, James emphasized that no expectations could have prepared him for the profound experiences he encountered. Every sight symbolized something significant, and the trip offered a broader perspective on the world, making his own problems seem comparatively small.

The trip contributed significantly to James's personal and leadership development by teaching him to initiate conversations, enhance listening skills, and embrace authenticity. Mastering these aspects not only enhanced his ability to connect with others but also highlighted that being himself was enough to build meaningful connections. Witnessing the magnitude of history in the museums helped him appreciate the importance of being a servant leader and the significance of communication and community engagement.

Networking with peers and professionals, James discovered the strength of the Kansas JAG group and felt inspired to continue growing as a leader. As he shared his story of his time in DC, he urged his classmates to always keep moving forward, emphasizing the once-in-a-lifetime nature of the experience and encouraging everyone to embrace unique opportunities in their life.

Looking forward, James sees himself as an ambassador of leadership, aiming to positively impact Larned High School and the Larned community by sharing the knowledge he gained during the trip. His advice to fellow students contemplating similar opportunities is simple yet profound: "Take the Trip." For James, the journey with JAG-K has been transformative, and he encourages others to seize every chance, viewing it as more than a grade but as a valuable opportunity for growth and practice.

James's story serves as a testament to the incredible impact of leadership trips and programs like JAG-K, reminding us all to embrace the journey and "Take the Trip."