GenJ Events Inspire Families
This year was marked by two Generation Joshua firsts. For the first time, GenJ Teen Camp was held in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. And the first Constitution Day celebration attracted almost 500 students for a reenactment of the signing of the Constitution.
“I’m convinced that we cannot be nearly as effective as citizens unless we are knowledgeable—knowledgeable about who we are as a nation, what our founding documents say, what our rights are, and how the government and political process work,“ says Generation Joshua Director Ned Ryun. “That’s what camp and Constitution Day are all about.”
|A highlight of this year’s GenJTeen Camp in Estes, Park, Colorado, was the mock presidential election.
The initial GenJ camps were held in 2004 and 2005 at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, as part of the college’s series of teen leadership camps. This past summer, August 13-19, 2006, GenJ broke out in a new setting—Estes Park, Colorado.
“The setting is really tough to beat when you’re in the Rockies,” Ryun says. “Another difference from our previous two camps was that families were invited to come along with their teens. I wanted parents to see firsthand what GenJ’s vision is all about.”
In addition to enjoying traditional camp activities such as horseback riding and hiking, campers received an intensive crash course in civics. Wallbuilders Founder and President David Barton lectured on the Founding Fathers, and Bill Jack of Worldview Academy spoke on seeing current political issues through a Christian worldview. Speakers with experience in the political arena—Representative Jim Ryun (KS-2), State Representative Kevin Lundberg (CO-49), and former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaeffer—taught campers how to apply this knowledge to the real world of politics.
The perennial highlight of GenJ camp is the mock presidential election. “The thing that’s always funny to me is how closely the election resembles what takes place in the real world in real elections,” comments Ned. “The campers probably don’t even realize some of what they're doing—but it just happens naturally.”
Another first for GenJ this year was Constitution Day. A 2004 federal law requires every school that receives federal funding to commit a certain number of hours on Constitution Day (celebrated this year on September 18) to teaching about our country’s founding document. To Ned, this law was a strong reminder that homeschoolers should be learning about the Constitution, as well.
|Almost 500 young people and their families gathered in Purcellville, Virginia, to participate in GenJ’s celebration of Constitution Day 2006.
Hosted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville, Virginia, GenJ’s Constitution Day celebration gathered nearly 500 attendees (students and their families), some from as far away as Georgia. Lectures by Ned Ryun on the Founding Fathers, the need for a constitution, and the context of the constitutional debates were interspersed with reenactments of those debates. The scripts were drawn from James Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention, and the actors were drawn from the crowd of students attending the celebration. The day culminated in a discussion about where America is today in regard to the original intent of the Founders.
“I think the young people and the parents came away encouraged and hopefully inspired to learn more about the Constitution,” states Ryun. ”If we don’t know what the Constitution says, we don't know what our rights are and we don’t know when they’re being taken away. We can't be good stewards of what’s been given to us if we don’t know what we have.”
Next year’s camp and Constitution Day may be months away, but teens who want to plunge into the civic arena can start now. Put the winter months to good use by taking an online civics course at www.GenerationJoshua.org. If you’re not a member of a local GenJ Club, consider joining one—or start your own! When election season rolls around, you’ll be ready to put your knowledge into practice.