RHS student’s leadership trip to Washington brought unexpected rewards, experiences

During his trip to Washington with the National Youth Leadership Forum, Richmond High School junior John Landwehr visited Capitol Hill, embassy buildings, the Smithsonian and the Marine base at Quantico. (Photo by Russ Green/Richmond News)

Junior John Landwehr’s visit coincided with removal of Occupy protesters from Smithsonian building

By Russ Green/Richmond News

Richmond High School junior John Landwehr was one of approximately 400 students taking part in the National Youth Leadership Forum held in late October in Washington, D.C.

The forum focuses on exploring American diplomacy during the six-day program and introduces the students to challenging careers in defense, intelligence, the diplomatic corps and more.

Students selected must have a B+ average or above and are assigned to a group of around 25 other students upon arrival.

“We would have meetings every day and go over the different sections of government that work together in our defense program and how they work with the military,” Landwehr said.

John, the son of D.R. and Stephanie Landwehr, said the days were long and usually began around 7 a.m. The average day included meetings and site visits to areas around Washington. D.C. Some of those visits included various embassies around the city, Capitol Hill, the Marine base at Quantico and other locations that Landwehr said usually ended by late evening.

Among the favorite site visits for Landwehr was Quantico.

“That’s where they have Marine 1, the Presidential chopper, and we got to tour the whole base,” he said. “The Marine Corps museum is there, which was really cool. We also got to see the military attack dogs and watched them do some of the training with them.”

Toward the end of the week, the groups participated in a mock National Security threat where each one in the group is assigned a different role in the government branches. The groups work together in the simulation to solve the threat. The simulated scenario this year, ironically, was a nuclear threat from North Korea. Landwehr’s role was that of National Security Advisor.


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