“Forge is all about the community”—Sarah’s Forge Story
We are excited to bring you the latest edition of the “My Forge Story” series. In this edition, we hear from Sarah Weaver, a 2019-20 graduate of the Forge Mentorship Academy. Sarah shares how the friendships she formed in Forge have encouraged her and equipped her to pursue her vocation in journalism.
Sarah Weaver is currently a masters student in Political Philosophy and American Government at Hillsdale College and a freelance political writer. She is preparing for a summer internship with National Review this summer.
Read Sarah’s latest articles in The Federalist, Real Clear Policy, and The Daily Signal.
We are pleased to bring you Sarah’s story, and we hope that it encourages and inspires you.
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Sarah Weaver’s Forge Story
When I attended the Forge Leadership Summit back in 2019, I knew I wanted to work in politics, but didn’t quite know what that would look like.
I arrived for the summit in Columbus in late July excited about the opportunity awaiting me, but a little nervous about the week ahead. Unlike most of the Forge students there, this was my first real political event I had attended since becoming interested in politics in high school. I didn’t quite know what to expect, or what was expected of me. But the staff, alumni, and students of Forge were encouraging, welcoming, and inspiring, and it wasn’t long before I was making what I can only describe as life-long friendships.
Now, as I pursue my master’s in Political Philosophy and American Government at Hillsdale College and work towards a career in political opinion journalism, I can credit Forge for so many of the connections, opportunities, and guidance that brought me where I am today.
Sarah with fellow Academy students at the Lincoln Memorial during Forge D.C.
The mission of Forge is, as I see it, the formation of a community that is the cornerstone of a cohesive and strong conservative movement. As an alumna, The Forge Leadership Network has provided something of a “three-pronged” support system.
First, Forge provides a network of like-minded individuals who support each other in what may sometimes seem like a lonely fight for the defense of our founding ideals.
Second, Forge challenges its students through discussion in settings that facilitate rational discourse that will produce individuals who are well equipped to defend their convictions.
Third, Forge provides role-models and mentors to provide examples of how to live and lead better within the sphere we inhabit.
It can be hard to be a young conservative. There seems to be a cultural imperative that to be a “successful” young person, you must participate in a certain measure of rebellion or social activism. While conservatives certainly believe there are some things worth rebelling against, and that social activism can be a force for good, conservatives most often find themselves on the “wrong” side of the political zeitgeist, defending centuries old principles against trendy hashtags and movements. When you’re young and trying to defend these age-old principles, it can be pretty lonely.
That’s why the community of students and alumni that Forge provides has been so important to me. I can’t tell you how many times I have read the news and thought, “maybe we should just focus on damage control, and let the people who seem to be in charge of all the change take the reins.” Then I would start interacting on the email threads or the messenger chats or in personal conversations with friends I have made through the program, and I would be reminded that I am not alone. No one who is a part of Forge is truly alone.
“For me, Forge is all about the
community – one of refuge,
of strengthening, and of example.”
But what Forge hasn’t been is some sort of group-think safe space. Forge is a community that refines and hones and sharpens each other. We have debates within our class on a regular basis. We discuss and disagree, sometimes we even change each other’s minds. I definitely feel that through the conversations that have challenged and tested my own opinions I have become better equipped to serve as an ambassador in whatever career or situation God places me.
Sarah at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, OH
One of the greatest things about the Forge Leadership Network is the mentorship academy. My mentor, Forge alum Rachel Del Guidice has been such an inspiring role model as I work towards—Lord-willing—entering a career in opinion journalism and writing. Her advice, both career and personal, has been invaluable as I grow as a writer and as a follower of Christ.
One of the biggest benefits of community is that it doesn’t just provide mentorship, but it provides examples. So, while having a mentor who answers the phone and gives you specific advice and counsel is incredibly important, the everyday experience of seeing people I can relate to do great things has been one of the best experiences of the Forge Leadership Network for me. Whether it’s seeing a friend move to D.C. and balance three separate internships along with college classes, or watching as Forge alumni become leaders of principle across the nation, seeing my peers exemplify a desire to redeem their time, make the days count, and stand up for their own convictions has been both inspirational and encouraging.
As I prepare for an internship at National Review (my favorite political outlet!) this summer and look towards graduating from Hillsdale College with my master’s in the Spring of 2022, I know I have a community to inspire and encourage me along the way. For that, I have Forge to thank.
Sarah on the Speakers Balcony during Forge D.C.
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