Lewis and Clark Youth Rendezvous participants partake in the friendship dance during the closing ceremony.

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L&C Youth Rendezvous news

The Youth Rendezvous has been dubbed by many of the participants as an “adventure of a lifetime.” The event may be over, but the memories for those who participated and believed in the project will be moments all will remember forever.
Students arrived in Bismarck Sunday, Aug. 13. They were split into three groups to attend activities in Washburn, Fort Lincoln State Park and Medora. On Aug. 17, all students were in Bismarck for a heritage and culture day, which culminated in a closing ceremony at United Tribes Technical College. Each day a newsletter captured the previous days events for all students and staff members. It is posted as a under the “links” section of the website.

Thank you notes

“I believe today the vision I have of myself is a little clearer because I shared a week with approximately 300 other youth who shared my vision of a future based upon an understanding and appreciation of the past. Furthermore, the values exhibited by the National Guard are no longer just ideals to me, but rather attainable goals which should be shared by all American citizens. Thank you and may you always find satisfaction in knowing the memories I have of the Lewis and Clark Youth Rendezvous will never fade as a result of time or distance.”
William Andrew Dunckelman,

“I would like to thank you and everyone else involved for the Lewis and Clark Rendevous. I had so much fun over those five days. The trip was very well planned and organized and was extremely fun. The trip was one of my greatest life experiences thus far. Once agian, thank you for the trip and the experience.”

Jacob Warren,

“I cannot express to you how much this trip has impacted my life. While it was only a week, those memories will last a lifetime. Even though as time passes I may forget the details, I will not forget the important things. The way history came alive, right before my eyes. The way I felt connected to those who had been in that very spot 200 years before, people like me, with hopes and dreams. The way I met kids just like me from all around the nation. The way the National Guard became apparent to me. Instead of seeing soldiers as nameless and faceless, I now have faces and names to think of. People who for various reasons decided to serve their country. I think that is what I will remember most about this trip. The Patriotism. This was a celebration of a group of men’s journey for the honor it would bring to their country. Men and women did that this week, in the form of giving 300 high schoolers the experience of a lifetime.”

Jasmine Wilson,

“I recently had the honor of representing the state of Tennessee at the Lewis & Clark Youth Rendezvous. I cannot express to you in words just how grateful I am for all of you hard work and dedication. It is because of your efforts that I was able to have the experience of a lifetime. The LCYR opened many new doors for me. I conquered my fear of height in Medora, flew in an airplane for the first time, and most importantly, made friendships that will last a lifetime. It is also quite possible that I will attend college in North Dakota, and return to Medora as a park ranger. (I had already planned to become a ranger, but not in N.D.) Thank you once again. I truly feel as if I am one the luckiest kids in America.

Chance Finegan,


In May, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on an amazing expedition across the Louisiana Territory, and began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues, and a dog. It is an unsurpassed tale of adventure and endurance. These true American heroes faced unknown people, harsh conditions and unexplored lands to secure a place in history as two of the world’s greatest explorers. It has been more than 200 years since then, and still the adventure lives on.

President Thomas Jefferson had long dreamed of what lay to the west of the young United States. When Jefferson dispatched Lewis and Clark to find a water route across North America and explore the uncharted West, he expected they’d encounter woolly mammoths and erupting volcanoes. Lewis & Clark were ordered to write accounts of all they did, each species encountered, details of cultures they met, and maps of the land. They traveled over a three-year period through a trail that later became 11 states.

Lewis recruited his friend William Clark to share equally in the command of the expedition. The members of the Corps of Discovery were Soldiers, but their purpose was peaceful; exploration, diplomacy and science. When the soldiers finally returned in September 1806, their journey had already captured the admiration and imagination of the American people. Over the past two hundred years, the Lewis and Clark Expedition became famous as a triumph of human achievement.

The National Guard’s Lewis and Clark Youth Rendezvous was a commemoration of the expedition’s journey. Ten students from each state and territory had the opportunity to submit an essay to win a chance to walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and see what the explorers saw more than 200 years ago. Students were immersed in the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition while they were in North Dakota. They were able to visit the actual locations where the expedition explored.

Students with the winning essays traveled for free to North Dakota to participate in activities that focused on hands-on history and educational fun. The national event highlighted unique cultural legends and natural landscapes found in North Dakota, and combined present-day military training with military history. Students submited a Lewis and Clark themed essay to have the opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to experience a real Lewis and Clark adventure.