By Linda Turley-Hansen
Arizona youth have an opportunity, this summer, to learn the governmental process from the inside, as Patriot Academy returns to Arizona for the second year. Founders call it an “intensive leadership boot camp,” to prepare the next generation to lead change in America. Academy presentations are designed to fortify students—ages 16 to 25—with founding, conservative principles, which are under major duress in the current political climate.
Patriot Academy, conducted nationwide, comes to Phoenix July 15 – 18, 2014. Registration is currently under way.
Laura Ciscomani of Tucson, Patriot Academy alumna, says, at last year’s Arizona camp, “We had 32 students acting as State Senators with a Senate President and Governor. We completely filled the Arizona State Senate, which seats 30 Senators.”
Ciscomani, a Stanford University graduate and now program manager for the Southwest Region, says, at Patriot Academy, students experience the political system and its language and how to pursue their ideal goals. “Before arriving to the Academy, students drafted legislation to present in their committees and later strategized to move through the legislative process.”
She says, “Something in me clicked. For the first time in my life, I was presented with a philosophy of government based on free-market principles, personal responsibility, and traditional values. Ultimately, I realized that simply knowing my beliefs is insufficient. I must be able to defend my value system with intelligent and informed arguments.”
Student governor, Joel Fisher, agrees, saying: “This academy is not only about politics, it is about finding out who you are and what you believe.”
Patriot Academy began more than a decade ago, when Texas State Representative Rick Green became concerned about his colleagues’ lack of understanding regarding conservative principles. He designed Patriot Academy to “train up a new generation of conservative leaders.”
“I believe students are hungry to learn about our nation’s history and process,” Ciscomani says. She says this is proven out as participants seem to gladly give up a week out of their summer, spend long days at the capitol and get little-to-no sleep to participate in the “life-changing” event.