TeenPacters Speak Up: A Series by Between Black and White
HA note: This series is reprinted with permission from Between Black and White. The following introduction was written specifically for Homeschoolers Anonymous to provide background on TeenPact as an organization.
Part One: Intro to TeenPact, by Kierstyn King
Kierstyn King blogs at Bridging the Gap.
TeenPact is an organization that teaches students about government, political activism, and christian values. Their website says, “Our 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.”
TeenPact started in 1994, founded by Tim Echols. When I was involved, the slogan was “TeenPact: turning students into statesmen.” TeenPact is currently active in 39 States. Their introduction into the organization takes place at the “State Class” which is four days of training about how-the-government-works (not to say it isn’t saturated with conservative values) and one day of public speaking. After you have attended the State Class you are eligible to attend “alumni events.”
The alumni events they have range from being biblical man/womanhood camps (Venture and Endeavor), to camps specifically tailored to the individual branches of government — Congress, Judicial, and Back to DC which tends to be around the time that the Values Voters Summit takes place (students attend at least one day of the conference as part of the class — or at least did the two years I was there). The two most popular camps are National Convention and Survival.
The goal of every camp, but especially National Convention and Survival, is to “challenge” students’ spiritual walk. Every camp teaches students from an evangelical christian conservative (patriarchal) viewpoint. “Taking the nation back for God” is ultimately what TeenPact hopes its alumni will grow up to do.
For many homeschoolers like myself, TeenPact is one of our only means of socialization — and our only means of socialization outside of our parents’ eyes (because they trust TeenPact, and the group is relatively homogenous). TeenPact offers a seemingly innocent product — a state government class taught by conservative/homeschool-friendly leaders. They offer students an opportunity to meet other people their age, and they help teach students how to think (from their point of view).
To be continued.