PATRIOT ACADEMY – A MOTHER’S PERSPECTIVE
by Robin Gray
My son has been obsessed with all things politics since he was 5 years old and not allowed a “real” ballot on which to cast his vote. As we home schooled and traveled around the country, he was able to enjoy visiting many of our nation’s historical landmarks furthering his interests. We attended the 9/12 March on Washington DC where he was tasked with interviewing attendees and he was asked to recite a portion of George Washington’s Farewell Address at a Tea Party Rally. He has a red and blue puzzle of the US that allows him to configure the states according to their party votes and created his own game based on the Electoral College. He constantly analyzes political statistics and creates his own tables to analyze election results. Because he dragged me to more than one candidate forum during the 2012 election cycle, he was chosen as the Teen Committeeman for our local Republican Central Committee before we knew what the Central Committee was!
Having been referred by a friend who observed his passion, he was chosen as the first (and so far only) Home Schooled student to represent our area at Boy’s State. He’s thoroughly enjoyed it all. He was able to participate in a mock legislative session in Boise and over all enjoyed the experience, but was left with a bit of distaste in his mouth by the behavior of other participants who seemed more interested in the resume boost than passing legitimate laws. So when another friend sent us a link to something called Patriot Academy, we jumped at the opportunity.
Patriot Academy is a leadership seminar for students ages 16 – 25 put on by the Torch of Liberty Foundation which is run by Rick Green, an associate of David Barton of WallBuilders. I have personally seen Mr. Green give a presentation at a Home School convention and was quite impressed with his knowledge of our Constitution and passion for America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. The format was similar to Boy’s State but the emphasis was on Biblical foundational ethics and government the way it SHOULD be according to the Founding Fathers. Begun in Texas a decade earlier, 2013 was the inaugural year for Patriot Academy in Idaho and Asa was the only representative from North Idaho, but I took him down to Boise and left him to their teaching. I was not disappointed.
Patriot Academy was everything we expected and more. The students learned Constitutional principles from a Biblical perspective with a great emphasis on how the country was founded and the proper role of government. They each wrote and presented a bill; argued, negotiated, and voted on those bills, and waited anxiously to see if the Patriot Academy Governor would sign the bill. My son found his forte – negotiating on the floor – and couldn’t stop talking about the experience for months afterwards. He was hooked.
2014 found him back in Boise as a Representative – this time in the newly expanded Northwest Patriot Academy designed to encompass the northwest corner of the country – and in the running for Governor of 2015. He won and spent the next year touting Patriot Academy with his Speaker of the House, Elizabeth. That session, I went down to help out and had the privilege to watch my son, the Governor, in action on the floor of the House. I am happy to say that six students from North Idaho attended the 2015 session.
Observing those teens and young adults in action; seeing their passion, competence, and the seriousness at which they took their “jobs” made me want to speak from the House seat I had occupied and participate in the fun. Everyone was helpful to each other and to the Freshman; every student made an impact in that room; every participant presented a dignity and maturity far beyond their years. Well-behaved, well-dressed, well-versed, and well-spoken. It was impressive to watch.
This session I will once again help out in the background as a Patriot Academy “Mom”. Though my son is now an adult and living on his own, I still relish the opportunity to attend and observe the students in action. Watching them participate in this leadership institute gives me hope for the future of our state and country. Hopefully at least a few of these young men and women will one day officially sit in the seats they chose for Patriot Academy and put in practice what they learned so that when they are presented with bills on which to vote, they remember the Constitutional principles they were taught and apply them appropriately. Heaven knows we need such Legislators in our states!
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