Essay by Miles Philips, Ohio National Guard Youth

January 26, 2013

When I got the email for the opportunity to be apart of a Backpack Journalist I was excited. The chance to spread the word about military kids, wounded warriors and the stories of people who have served our country was momentous to me. I my self am a Military kid. My father Col. Phillips has been deployed to Iraq to twice.

My first assignment with A Backpack Journalist was working the political events during the 2012 election. I live in Ohio and during the election Ohio is considered a swing state. So every time the President or Gov. Mitt Romney would come in town I would attend and “gatherer information and put together a report”. My reports have been posted on CNN iReport.

I was then asked  to go to Washington D.C with the A Backpack Journalist team to Cover the Assignment.  This meant I would be “gathering and reporting” on visits to the White house and Pentagon Press Room. (Defense Media Activity at the Pentagon, and the actualy Press Briefing Area that sits right on the White House property).  We also covered the Army Ten Miler where we met and interviewed wounded warriors, leadership from all around the Army and Service members who ran the race.  There is a short video that was made about our work and it’s on the A Backpack Journalist website.

When it came time to go to the AUSA convention I was very excited but I did not know what to expect. The convention center was huge and filled with  people representing all companies that serve our military. It was so cool to see the open ceremony and how they had actual services members act out and sing the history of the U.S Army. The convention was also a networking opportunity. A Backpack Journalist staff taught me how to properly introduced my self and to “gather” and report and then present information to people about something with out sounding forceful.  Like I became a marketing professional during those few days, and that’s what I want to do when I graduate from high school!  Communications and PR!

A Backpack Journalist told us we had to give a speech about our selves and what we have learned and experienced as a Backpacker at the Family Forum at the AUSA convention. Everyone was nervous, but they knew what to say. I personally didn’t know what to say.  Would the audience listen?  The time came for us to speak and we all lined up. I was in the middle, as the other members on a Backpack Journalist shared their stories I can see people in the crowd were visibly moved. I could see how the people in the crowd were relating and understanding. That’s when I knew I had had an unprecedented opportunity as a Backpack Journalist and could share it with ease!

All of the Backpackers can be seen on the DVIDS video on the A Backpack Journalist website.  As a participant, I plan on using this video and the others that we made during our assignment in my college application and with my portfolio.