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Vol. XXV
No. 6

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by Josh Leftwich
- disclaimer -
iGovern 2009: A Student’s perspective

Take a stand! Those three words came alive during Generation Joshua’s iGovern Summer Camp.

Campers potray lobbyists at GenJ camp.
Generation Joshua
A “congresswoman” and “lobbyist” discuss defensive funding at the Wednesday night gala of iGovern East.

Each morning began with worship and devotions, GenJ staff sharing how we could take a stand in our faith through prayer, life choices, and our relationship with Christ. As GenJ Director Will Estrada taught us, without a personal relationship with Christ, politics will be an eternal waste of time.

Each afternoon we heard from incredible speakers such as Rick Green from WallBuilders, Chaplain Douglas of the United States National Guard, and four United States congressmen. Chaplain Douglas’ words changed my perspective on the future. Douglas told us not only to strive to be “all that we could be,” but to rise above the challenges of this world, to work hard, and to live up to our potential—all for the glory of God!

I am a visual learner—imagine my excitement when I discovered that this camp was full of visual learning and as close to the real deal of politics as a high schooler can find. Upon arriving at Patrick Henry College’s beautiful campus, we received our nametags, schedules, and congressional “titles.” From that point on, we were members of Congress. Each person represented a state at our congressional sessions, in which we debated, amended, voted, and passed legislation.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
Generation Joshua
iGovern East campers went to D.C. on Friday, where they heard U.S. Representatives Mike Pence (IN) and Michele Bachmann (MN), pictured here, as well as Tom McClintock (CA) and Virginia Foxx (NC).

The best part of camp, however, was building relationships. With everyday team activities—dodge ball, capture the flag, telephone, and water wars—we quickly got to know fellow students. These games united us as we worked to win the prize for our team (political party), which usually included a big “GenJ cash” payout for our campaign.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the most important part of camp, the presidential election. Of the 114 students at camp, 12 brave students ran for president. In the primary election, the Blue Party chose Jonathan and Melody to represent them, and, after a runoff, the Gold Party chose me and my running mate, Taylor. From that night, the race was on.

For the rest of the camp, we were busy writing speeches, producing commercials, waving signs, and winning votes. At the gala, everyone dressed up in their fanciest dresses and suits in an effort to win key endorsements from lobbyists at the party. As a presidential candidate, I spent the entire night shaking hands and convincing lobbyists to support my campaign. By the end of the night, we had raised enough money to finish the campaign.

By Thursday night, we had all poured every ounce of our energy into the campaign. We gathered to await the results: by a difference of four votes, Jonathan and Melody won the presidential election of iGovern East 2009! They were thrilled, as were Taylor and I for them. With a final word of prayer, we all enjoyed the victory party with snacks and a movie.

As Saturday morning came around, there were many tough goodbyes. As students left, it seemed that we were watching future doctors, lawyers, preachers, governors, representatives, and presidents return home to their towns to be tried and tested, but also to have the chance to “take a stand.” To all the iGovern students, never forget the words of wisdom we learned: “Stay strong, stay focused, never back down, and most of all, take your stand!”

About the author

Josh Leftwich is a Generation Joshua member from New Jersey.