Mr. Callahan Goes To Washington

OSWEGO, NY – The next “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” might just be Oswego’s Aaron Callahan.

The OHS student was nominated to attend the Congressional Youth Leadership Council’s National Young Leaders Conference.

The conference will be held in Washington, D.C., March 23-28.

Aaron Callen
Aaron Callahan

“The event is a civics, US history and government learning conference designed to identify, then give a glimpse of, and I believe further inspire the attending student to examine their level of desire to further pursue higher education and a career in these fields,” he explained.

Aaron said he has been nominated in the past for a weeklong conference at George Mason University and even China, which he declined.

However, this conference is different.

“I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive this nomination. This nomination, by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council to attend their National Young Leaders Conference, is close to my heart,” Aaron explained. “My wish is to do what I can to help and maybe improve our hometown, state, and country.”

Aaron likes books and old black and white movies. “My family jokes that I could be the next ‘Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,'” he said.

“Aaron is only the third person in five years to be nominated and attend this conference of young leaders as an Oswego High School student,” according to his father, Mike.

While in Washington, Aaron will be meeting and learning from some of our nation’s highest officials; also with government officials responsible for Oswego, Central New York and New York State, his father pointed out.

“Sometimes, these students have been offered and accepted internships in these officials’ offices,” he added.

The students have to raise money to cover the trip.

“So far, Aaron has received a great response from the community. We would like to see his school show support for one of their own,” his father said. “Mr. Geoffrey Baer (guidance counselor ) has been a great help and given Aaron direction in fundraising efforts through local businesses and organizations, who are responding well.”

“Now that I have accepted the nomination, I have paid my deposit and airfare to attend the conference,” Aaron added. “My duty now is to see if the community will support me in this with fundraising, guidance, and word-of-mouth.”

So far, he has received some donations and interest.

“Part of the overall experience is to fundraise, maybe because politicians have to all through their careers, maybe to help me really appreciate what it takes to do this,” Aaron surmised.

He has been a member of the Oswego County Youth Advisory Council for three years.

The group is deeply involved in school and community programs and sponsors events to help, Aaron said.

The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau is trying to arrange a fundraising night through Canale’s and Fajita Grill, his father said. They also hope that someone at the school might help sponsor Aaron with a bake sale or something else.

Besides the Youth Bureau and YAC, Aaron has received interest and support from: The Leadership Oswego County Youth, Oswego Children’s Board, Ancient Order of Hibernians, NCCC church – youth group, the Elks Club and Fajita Grill, which will sponsor a fundraiser for Aaron from 5 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 23.

“We feel our school should be proud to have a student of theirs attend. He is also encouraged by the CYLC to offer to speak to participating organizations, businesses, schools and others about the conference. We expect from the progress thus far he will be speaking at SUNY Oswego, high school organizations and several youth leadership organizations in the area like the Youth Advisory Council and the Youth Leadership of Oswego County,” his father said.

Aaron says that, keeping his fingers crossed, if the fundraising efforts exceed the exact expense of the conference, he will donate all remaining money to the Haitian Relief Fund, as administrated by Presidents Bush/Clinton.