Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Freedom Scholars Go to Camp

Back in April we told you about the Freedom Scholars. An incredible group of youth doing extraordinary things preparing to inherit the responsibilities of defending and protecting our Republic. These young people are my inspiration!!
This summer Haley (16) and Tabitha (15) Gatts went to camp. Not your typical youth summer camp, they got to go to a legislative camp! Haley wrote about their experience and I'm proud to be able to share it.

If any of you have young people in your lives, I strongly encourage you to have them contact Freedom Scholars and get involved with these remarkable young men and ladies. 
Haley & Tabitha Gatts
Generation Joshua
IGovern west 2011
Haley Gatts

    This year my younger sister Tabitha and I attended IGovern west in Colorado Springs, 9,000 feet above sea level, in the Rocky mountains at Eagle Lake camp site owned and operated by the Navigators. We were two of one-hundred and four students between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. All of these students except for one (yes, we teased her for it) were home schooled, and all were conservative. We were there for one week, and believe me, we crammed about a half a year’s worth of work into it. 

     IGovern is a political camp hosted by HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) helping young teens gain experience and knowledge in the realm of politics and government. The camp is a simulation of government where all students are a member of congress. Through the week we had speakers, classes, committees, senate and house sessions, activities, and much more. 

    The first step in the process there was to break into our parties, gold and blue; I was in the gold party and so was Tabitha. After we were all sorted correctly we divided into caucuses of about five people, then we elected a caucus chair and secretary. Tabitha and I were both caucus chairs. In the caucus we discussed issues to be in our platform. After we had about ten topics for the platform in each caucus, the chairs got together and made a roughly drafted party platform out of all the issues discussed. At the same time that was taking place the party was working on electing a party chair. After the chair was elected he appointed a party whip, a secretary and treasurer were appointed by votes, I was then appointed as chair of a legislative policy team and I appointed five people to be in the committee with me. After all that took place we were mostly done with appointing and such.
    Tabitha and I were both in the senate. I attended the legislative techniques class, and Tabitha took the party leadership class. This helped me personally to get acquainted with some small but important senate rules that I would apply in session. The classes lasted all week and were educational as well as fun. 

   Along with being in congress, writing bills, moving them through committees and the houses, we also had a scenario. This is something that added a lot more work to our job and a bit of fun too. Our scenario was that China went to the moon and was starting to build a lunar colony for the purpose of mining helium three. As congress we had to decide what we were going to do. Looking at it from the outside it doesn’t seem very complex, but there are a lot of details and complication to this scenario. It turns out that we handled everything very well and the outcome was practically picturesque.
    We weren’t completely secluded from the world on our little mountain that week, we had a number of speakers come and give us some great advice on leadership, Christianity, politics, and much more.
    One of the bigger projects we had to tackle after we got our parties lined out was a campaign. We had the primary within our party, then the presidential elections. (We ran everything just like a real campaign.)
    Another interesting set up at camp was that we had money, we had to pay for everything, every meal, every snack, and we also had to pay fines. It was a complicated process so I won’t go into detail, but it became very important when the elections came. All through camp we had to raise money ourselves to pay for our fines. This meant getting money from different PAC’s (political action committees) and lobbyists. We had a formal gala halfway through the week to raise tons of dollars for our party’s campaign; we had a whole three and a half hours! 

    At the beginning of the week we received a letter from the President (our former session President) telling us that he needed a budget bill passed quickly so he could sign it before the deadline; he also said he would veto it if it cut more than twenty percent from any department. That was another task to accomplish before the week ended, and we did. The president vetoed our budget bill, and we overrode it with a unanimous vote.
    When camp was over we had successfully passed five bills including the budget bill, we tied up all the loose ends with the scenario, we elected a president, and we had a bunch of unkept promises to a whole lot of lobbyists.  

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