J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Generation Joshua: Camp Trains Future Leadership of America
July 27, 2010
Generation Joshua recently finished its iGovern East summer leadership camp at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. One hundred and four students from across the country attended this year. After months of work, our leadership training program allowed participants to actually try and make government work. During the iGovern program, participants act as members of Congress and taste what goes on when Congress is in session. Each student had the opportunity to draft bills, talk with lobbyists, create and advance their party platform, and hone their leadership skills.
HSLDAGeneration Joshua’s iGovern camp combines civics and leadership training with fun.
iGovern West in Colorado Springs, Colorado will use basically the same scenario. The students will be forced to wrestle with hard decisions. In the event of a crisis overseas, how should Congress react? What does it mean to do justice, love, and mercy? At the iGovern East camp, there were a variety of responses, an outcome which clearly mimicked real-life decision-making. Some students said the United States should only offer humanitarian aid in the form of food and clean water. Others argued the military should be involved. Still others wanted a diplomatic solution. The issues were challenging in both implication and scope.
Generation Joshua staff work constantly to keep the program fresh and relevant. In fact, we are already brainstorming ideas for iGovern in 2011. This year we offered two new additions to our program.
In the past, we limited students to situations involving the House of Representatives. But this year we added a Senate to make our simulation more realistic—allowing impeachment, nomination fights, and treaties. We also added three specialty classes: Campaigns and Elections, Legislative Techniques, and Party Leadership.
Campaigns and Elections teaches students how an election works and how to run a successful campaign. The Legislative Techniques class explores parliamentary procedure and offers strategies for writing and passing a bill. In the Party Leadership class, students learn about practical leadership; how to lead by example, to be approachable, and to build a team to accomplish difficult things. iGovern provides many students with the chance to mold 50-plus opinionated teens into an effective political force. The students don’t simply get a “how-to guide.” Just like real life, they have to think wisely and quickly, readily learning from their mistakes. And as happens every year, they learned that a humble spirit and godly character are crucial to good leadership.
It was a busy week that required nothing short of miraculous assistance, but God is incredibly gracious and blessed our efforts. On Thursday in particular, God gave us an opportunity to minister to the students’ hearts. It had been a long few days and the kids were all tired, physically and spiritually. But during daily chapel and evening worship God did an amazing work. During the staff-led message from God’s Word the students were unwaveringly attentive, their worship of Him was intimate, and we saw God break down walls around the students hearts, opening them up to hear His truth. Some were raised in Christian homes but had not yet surrendered their life to Christ. Others came to camp with a passion for politics, never having heard the gospel message, and left with a new-found faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe leadership training starts with a humble dependence on God. This is the reason the staff of Generation Joshua has great confidence in the future of America. We see God working in the heart of the homeschooled youth of America to mature them into His next generation of representatives to the world. We count ourselves privileged to be a part of this.
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