Summer Update Part II – Forge Academy students experience Israel for first time & Forge grads build on opportunities
Dear Friend of Forge,
As you saw in our last newsletter, Summer 2017 was quite exciting for Forge Leadership Network. A very successful Forge Leadership Summit was followed by the previous year’s Summit students embarking on a life-changing trip to Israel.
BACKGROUND: Why Do Forge Mentorship Academy Students Go To Israel?
The Forge Sequence: From Leadership Summit to Mentorship Academy
The Forge Leadership Summit is not only the entry point to the Forge experience, but it’s also a five-day interview. Throughout the Leadership Summit, known as Forge 101 in the Forge Sequence, students are evaluated for acceptance to the Forge Mentorship Academy. Invited alumni of the Leadership Summit complete a written application for the Mentorship Academy. Acceptance is highly competitive.
The Mentorship Academy is a year-long program offering experiential learning in national and international politics, training in argumentation and current events, and an individualized mentor match. Designed to supplement full-time studies or employment, Forge facilitates the Mentorship Academy through digital platforms, conference calls, mentoring relationships, and trips to Washington, D.C. for Forge 201, and to Israel for Forge 301.
After completing Forge 101 in Ohio and then Forge 201 in D.C. six months later, students in the Forge Academy are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come face-to-face with the roots of their faith and the epicenter of international affairs and foreign policy in Israel.
Forge Leadership Network gives young conservatives experiences and relationship connections that they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to receive. Passages – an organization created by Museum of the Bible and the Philos Project – makes it possible for American college students of Christian faith to discover the Biblical roots of their faith and begin to understand the complexity of the challenges confronting the modern state of Israel.
Passages generously allows college students to go on these 10-day excursions at a deeply discounted rate. International flights, hotels, tour guides, meals, expert speakers, everything included! Passages typically only takes groups from one university, but they partner with Forge because of our reputation for finding and mentoring the best young minds from many universities.
For a week-and-a-half, Forge students walk in the footsteps of Jesus, Abraham, David, the disciples, and other heroes of Scripture. They also meet with rabbis, pastors, diplomats, soldiers, members of The Knesset (Israeli Parliament), as well as both Arab and Israeli journalists and professors. As Forge trains and mentors young conservatives, we view this trip as an incredible opportunity to further our work. This trip to Israel and partnership with Passages allows our students a two-fold benefit: 1) they grow deeper in their core convictions, the faith that motivates many of our students’ interest and desire to impact the public square in the first place and 2) they encounter the epicenter of international relations and foreign policy. Forge can provide students with incredible internships, job opportunities, mentors, and a tremendous grasp of domestic politics and policy. But if our students are going to maximize their impact on their state and nation, they will be better equipped the more they understand the world outside of those borders. There are few regions of the world more complicated and fascinating than the Middle East!
FAST FORWARD: This July, the 2016-2017 Forge Academy members embarked on their own experience of Israel with Passages.
Here is one Forge student’s impression from his ten days in Israel:
“As most of you probably know by now, I recently got back from Israel. I have been telling people that, to date, this was the best experience I’ve had in life. While I was there, I feel like I learned so much, made eternal friendships, and grew exponentially as a person. I felt so at home in Israel, and since I’ve been back in Ohio, all I have wanted is to return to Israel. I am extremely grateful to Forge Leadership Network for giving me this opportunity and Passages for making this trip so edifying.
The evening we arrived in Jerusalem was one of the most memorable moments, and the poem our guide, Gadi, read was awesome in explaining how that moment felt, so I’ll leave you with that:
By Yitzhak Yasinowitz
‘One does not travel to Jerusalem,
the road taken by generations,
the path of longing
on the way to redemption.
One brings rucksacks
stuffed with memories
to each mountain
and each hill.
In the cobbled white alleyways
one offers a blessing
for memories of the past
which have been renewed.
One does not travel to Jerusalem
How Have Forge Graduates Applied What They Learned In Israel? How Have They Taken Advantage of This Life-Changing Opportunity?
Several Forge Fellows have been able to return to Israel and the Middle East due to opportunities they pursued after their first trip.
Rachael Powell, who shared a testimonial on the subject at this year’s Forge Showcase Reception (50:00 minute mark), has returned to Israel several times with Passages as a Special Social Media Correspondent, interviewing students, staff, and speakers alike. Below is a five-minute video of Rachael interviewing Aramaic Christian leader, Shadi Khalloul, one of the incredible Israelis Forge students learned from this summer:
Passages Video – Rachael’s Interview with Shadi Khalloul
Danielle Price, a trauma and ICU nurse, was deeply moved by her first trip to Israel and the Middle East. She followed God’s call on her heart in two significant ways: she returned to Israel this year as a Passages Fellow, one of several Forge grads to go through further Passages training in order to lead other students on their first trip; and she has twice gone to northern Iraq to provide medical care outside of Mosul to refugees persecuted and displaced by ISIS. Watch this one-minute video of her describing the journey that led her to provide medical support in Mosul.
Danielle Price Testimonial from the Golan Heights Region of Israel
Thank you for reading this month’s e-newsletter! I hope you’ve gained a deeper understanding of all the opportunities that are possible for students in the Forge Mentorship Academy.I also hope that you are inspired like I am by the stories of our students following God’s leading to impact their local communities, nation, and also their world! God is giving these young leaders from the Midwest global opportunities, and they’re responding like Danielle, Peter, and Rachael with big leaps of faith.
Prayer Requests – Specific Ways You Can Pray for Our Shared Ministry:
— We have a big season of student recruitment upcoming, as we travel to campuses to recruit the best and brightest to the 2018 Forge Leadership Summit next July. Pray that the demand and applications for the 2018 Forge Summit would exceed even our highest expectations.
— Forge 201 in Washington D.C., will be here before we know it at the start of January. We’re finalizing details in planning that event, locking in incredible speakers, special access tours, and more. Pray that final details come into place, that God opens doors, and that we execute this event super well in its second year.
— God has given Forge a great deal of success in our first few years. There’s a lot of responsibility, decision-making, and need for discernment that comes with that. Pray that we would steward and lead this ministry well and make wise decisions as our programming, students, and national impact grow and expand.
Adam is passionate about investing his future in the future of students who will become the next innovators in the marketplace, champions of free enterprise, inspiring educators, shapers of culture, and statesmen and stateswomen in government.