The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXVII
No. 5
Cover
September/October
2011

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Liberty’s Call Previous Page Next Page
by Tatum Teels
- disclaimer -
Leadership Training for the Future: An Insider’s Perspective

This was my first year at Generation Joshua’s iGovern Summer Leadership Camp. I had the incredible opportunity to serve as a camp counselor, which gave me the chance to see a side that many people do not see—the preparation that went into this camp.

GenJ 
campers and staff with General Martin Dempsey, now chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff.
© HSLDA
GenJ campers and staff with General Martin Dempsey, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
...

EACH ONE OF THEM
WILL BE GOING
INTO THE WORLD AND
WILL NEED TO BE
ABLE TO SHARE THEIR
FAITH WELL.
...

Generation Joshua provides internship opportunities to help prepare young people for leadership positions. As a summer intern and a part of the staff, I was involved in a great deal of planning for camp. The thing that stood out the most to me was the amount of prayer that went into the whole preparation process. I always knew that Generation Joshua was a Christian organization, but for me to see how much the staff is interested in each and every camper was an incredible blessing.

This year we had 150 campers from around the nation for iGovern East Summer Leadership Camp. During their week on the campus of Patrick Henry College, they heard from speakers such as Mike Farris, Mike Smith, Morton Blackwell from the Leadership Institute, and Wendy Wright from Concerned Women for America.

On the campers’ field trip into Washington, D.C., students heard from Senator Jim DeMint (SC) and Paul Teller, the executive chairman of the House Republican Study Committee which is headed by Congressman Jim Jordan (OH). Both DeMint and Teller gave the campers an amazing perspective as conservative leaders in our nation’s capital.

As part of our training scenario, each camper was made a “congressman” upon his or her arrival. The participants learned how to write legislation, how to use Robert’s Rules of Order, and then how the particular rules of the Senate or House of Representatives applied to the legislative process. These campers discovered not only how difficult it is to write a bill, but how much harder it is to get a bill passed through Congress. They also learned how to deal with “lobbyists” at our gala event on Thursday night. The students, all in formal wear, were approached by lobbyists who gave Generation Joshua dollars to “congressmen” who agreed to help pass legislation that would benefit the lobbyists. The campers learned that just like real members of Congress, they needed to make sure that they only took campaign donations that were legal, and that even legal donations should only be accepted if the money came from a respected, upstanding lobbyist or organization.

Tatum Teels, pictured during the 2011 iGovern West camp in Colorado.
Courtesy of Tatum Teels
Tatum Teels, pictured during the 2011 iGovern West camp in Colorado.

The highlight of the week came at the end of Wendy Wright’s talk to the campers. She shared about her experiences as a sidewalk counselor at various abortion clinics. During a question and answer session, a camper named Lauren asked Wright if she had ever met one of the babies whom she had helped save. Wright said that she had met one, but that it had been a long time ago. At that point, Lauren stood up and said that she was one of those babies. Lauren’s birth mother had chosen to keep her child after speaking with Wendy Wright. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Each of the campers and all of the staff understand the tragedy of abortion, but to witness this story of hope and life was incredibly inspiring.

More important than all of the political training that took place during the week was the spiritual encouragement that the campers received. During daily chapel, Generation Joshua staff members each gave a message that stressed the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The campers learned that the growing of their personal walk with God isn’t just an “I go to church on Sunday and Wednesday” experience, but rather a daily challenge to love and serve God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.

I know that not every student who comes to camp will be involved in politics, but each one of them will be going into the world and will need to be able to share their faith well. A good understanding of how the political system works, coupled with a grounded faith, will help those young people who do go into politics as well as those who will be voting for them. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help young people through the Generation Joshua program.


About the author

Tatum Teels is a homeschool graduate from Oklahoma. She is a part of Generation Joshua’s Leadership Corps and interned with Generation Joshua this summer. She looks forward to homeschooling her own children someday.