From WFA President Julaine Appling:
It’s time for some bragging. No, I’m not going to be bragging about Wisconsin Family Council. I’m devoting this commentary to bragging about some teenagers.
About three years ago a friend contacted me and asked me to speak to a group of teens that she said would be meeting in our state capitol for a week in February. To be honest, the details were fuzzy to me. I caught the name, the place, and the date and showed up.
Earlier this month, I was honored to speak for the 4th straight year to this group of teens—and I now know much more about them. TeenPact Leadership Schools do that to you. They kind of sneak up and then you realize just who and what they are and are accomplishing with the next generation.
WFA President Interviews TeenPact Students
According to the TeenPact web site, “TeenPact is a dynamic, hands-on leadership school for Christian students.” Their “mission is to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend their Christian faith and engage the culture at a time in their lives when, typically, they do not care about such things.”
I can tell you TeenPact Wisconsin lives up to the national group’s mission. And TeenPact Wisconsin is likely very similar to the other 38 state TeenPact Leadership Schools.
The first time I spoke to TeenPact in the beautiful North Hearing Room of our state capitol, I was impressed. It took me back to my early days of teaching in Christian schools. The young men were dressed in suits and ties and the young ladies were dressed in professional suits or dresses. They listened intently; took notes and were prepared to ask thoughtful questions.
During the requisite Q&A, hands went up all over the room and when each teen I called on stood, greeted me professionally, introduced himself or herself, and then asked the question—and they were all good questions that allowed everyone to profit from the answer.
The format for TeenPact Leadership Schools is for the teens to pay to attend a week-long school in the state capitol. In Wisconsin, the students stay at a nearby Bible camp and are transported to the capitol for several days of hands-on training. At the camp at night, there are devotionals, one-on-one interactions with counselors, and just some good old-fashioned fun.
During the days, the students have various leaders come in and speak to them from their unique perspective for about 20 minutes with a 10-minute Q&A. They also do field work, including meeting legislators in their offices and talking with them. I popped in on a TeenPact afternoon session this year, and who was in doing a Q&A session with the teens? Shirley Abrahamson, chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. These teens are getting to interact with leaders, whether they necessarily agree with them or not.
Wisconsin Family Council is very impressed with the TeenPact leaders and the teens that we have met and continue to work with. Last election cycle, we were able to work with TeenPact on some election-related activities and helped a number of the teens earn scholarships so they could attend this year’s school, which had a record attendance for Wisconsin. We were honored to work with this great group of teenagers.
TeenPact Students Lend a Voice During Interview with WFA President Julaine Appling
TeenPact is a natural partner for Wisconsin Family Council and should be a natural partner for parents. The schedule lends itself to home-schooling families, but I’ve heard stories of students taking time from their regular schooling to attend the TeenPact Leadership School, and I can certainly see why. The trade-off is well worth it.
TeenPact takes teens and leadership seriously. If you want to see TeenPact in action, come to our 2013 Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 21. A representative from TeenPact Wisconsin will speak for a few minutes, and Laura Barker, the TeenPact Wisconsin director, will be at the event with several students. They’ll be volunteering for the day and gleaning more information that will help them be even better equipped leaders in the years ahead. Call us at 888-378-7395 for details on our exciting Day at the Capitol with TeenPact.
If you have teenagers in your home or in your life, I encourage you to check out teenpact.com, call us at 888-378-7395 for other contact information.
It’s an honor to brag about the teens and leaders who are part of TeenPact Wisconsin. Their passion to serve the Lord, to be godly leaders and real world-changers is exciting and gives me great hope for the future. I wholeheartedly commend TeenPact for their work and pray God’s continued blessings on this organization that is investing in tomorrow.