Teenagers and young adults in Idaho will have an unprecedented opportunity to learn about the U.S. Constitution and the workings of American government with the Texas-based Patriot Academy set to convene in August for the first time ever in Boise.
“We want young people to understand that in America, people in elective office are public servants,” said Elizabeth Allan-Hodge, state coordinator for the academy. “Being in public office is not about being a rock star or ruling over people. We want to train up young Americans to understand that serving in public office is about serving the public interest and protecting individual rights.”
Founded in 2001 by former Texas state legislator Rick Green, the Patriot Academy gathers students between the ages of 14 and 25 to study the mechanics of American government, the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Hodge, a former state legislator from Canyon County, said once she became familiar with the program, she sought to become involved in putting one together in Idaho. “In the program students actually run for office and we hold a mock Legislature so they learn the legislative processes,” she told IdahoReporter.com. “Most impressive is the fact that students spend a lot of time learning about and talking about the U.S. Constitution, as well as the principles of free enterprise and private property rights.”
This year marks the first time that the Patriot Academy will hold classes outside of Texas, where it was founded. Along with instruction convening in Boise Aug. 13-16, the Patriot Academy will also hold classes this year in Arizona and Florida.
“We don’t want to perpetuate the same breed of politicians that we have in Congress today,” Hodges said to IdahoReporter.com. “When an elected official takes the oath of office, that’s not just a cool little party and those aren’t just clever words that one recites. The words have meaning and we’re teaching that to young people.”
Speakers and instructors at Boise’s Patriot Academy include the academy’s founder, Rick Green, as well as David Barton, founder of the nonprofit Wall Builders organization, a group that educates about the history of the United States and the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, several current members of the Idaho Legislature will be speaking and participating.
“This is vital to our republic that we teach the basic principles of the Constitution,” Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, told IdahoReporter.com. Boyle is participating in the Boise classes next month. She believes “America has gone awry because we haven’t taught these things. I’m honored to be part of what the Patriots Academy is doing to correct the course.”
Hodge said that approximately 30 members of the Legislature will participate in the Boise-based Patriot Academy. In addition to Boyle, Sens. Cliff Bayer R-Boise, and Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, as well as Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, are among the legislative members who will either serve as instructors or participate in panel discussions.
Information about the Boise-based Patriot Academy is available HERE. Further information is available by contacting Hodge directly at (208) 869-1709.