Ever wondered how you can learn about government and make a difference? On their website, TeenPact writes, “Through dynamic experiences, TeenPact seeks to inspire youth in their relationship with Christ and train them to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend the Christian faith, and engage the culture around them.” First-time TeenPact students can travel to the capitol building of any one of 48 US states for State Classes, where they can learn about government. If they take the Four Day State Class, they become alumni and can participate in various Alumni Events, which focus on leadership development through team building, camping, and advanced government classes. Notable TeenPact alumni have become influential politicians over the years; Representative Josh Cockroft, Representative Elise Hall, Representative Jennifer Sullivan, and Justice Nels Peterson have all taken TeenPact classes (“TeenPact”). Many other students have experienced personal growth on other career paths, and some have shared their experiences on the blog at teenpact.com.
A short while ago, I attended a local homeschool co-op with some other families who supported and loved TeenPact. When I met the Lineberger family at the co-op, I had no idea they would start the first TeenPact State Class in California, and I became excited when I heard they would. Though the organization has existed since 1994, nobody had ever started a California class before. For one, not many people wanted to take on the heavy responsibilities of a State Coordinator—planning logistics far in advance and meeting with statesmen. And the few people willing had never gained the necessary support from statesmen, though they had tried.
Cherryse’s children, Lewis, Charisma, and Joy, have all taken TeenPact classes in past years. Lewis says he liked learning about government from a Christian perspective and participating in mock legislation, crossfire debate, and peer evaluation. Since he became an alumni student, he and other alumni discussed advanced politics. They studied the policies of immigration laws and discussed solutions. Charisma liked touring the capitol, writing and presenting bills, and going on prayer walks. She also had the chance to improve her public speaking. Joy also remarks, “I learned a lot about public speaking.” Then she adds that she learned how to use persuasiveness in arguments and enjoyed the prayer walks. All three children enjoyed meeting new friends at their classes.
Because of her children, Cherryse learned about TeenPact and came to really value the organization. While her children attended classes, Cherryse met new people. She even talked to Peter Martin, president and CEO of TeenPact.
After Peter Martin learned that Cherryse lived in California, TeenPact asked Cherryse to become the State Coordinator for California classes. Thinking and praying over the request, Cherryse remembered how much her kids had grown through and loved TeenPact. She accepted the offer.
However, Cherryse had to gain support from at least two respected Californian statesmen. For starters, she and eight others from my homeschool co-op met with Assemblyman Tom Lackey. “I was nervous that he would decline our request for support… I shared TeenPact’s vision and class content with him, and although he listened intently, it was very difficult for us to tell if we could count on his support.” After the eight others in Cherryse’s group shared their experiences at TeenPact, Assemblyman Tom Lackey gave his approval, and Cherryse says, “His office has been a wonderful assistance to us ever since.”
About a month after meeting Assemblyman Tom Lackey, Cherryse and her group met Senator Scott Wilk. If they could gain his support, the TeenPact classes would become a reality. Senator Scott Wilk welcomed them into his conference room and asked questions. Very personable, he enjoyed speaking with the youth of the group and shared his childhood story of traveling to the capital, which inspired him to become Senator. After hearing about the organization, Senator Scott Wilk agreed to support TeenPact. Cherryse and her group had overcome the most daunting challenges!
Then Cherryse had planning to attend to. Some major details included deciding which rooms in the capitol to hold classes, which church to hold worship in after the classes, and which speakers to deliver messages. A TeenPact representative traveled from Florida and assisted her in choosing rooms in the capitol. Soon Cherryse also found a nearby church that would work well and asked Assemblyman Tom Lackey to speak for the Political Communications Workshop, a type of State Class. Overall, everything came together smoothly, and Cherryse thanks God for the success.
Cherryse looks forward to seeing families become involved with the California TeenPact this year. “It’s really a blessing for young people,” she says. Classes will take place April 14-19, 2019.
Go to teenpact.com to find out more! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.
“TeenPact.” Wikipedia, 11 Sept. 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeenPact.