“With My People Again:” Forge Alumni Reunite for Weekend In Charleston

Inaugural Forge Alumni Reunion in Charleston, S.C.

“On-mission” friendship changes lives and nations.

Young conservatives today often feel alone, but not those in Forge. Forge builds life-long friendships between young leaders and invests in fostering those friendships for years after our Summit and year-long Academy. As Forge builds the “farm team” to raise up a pipeline of young leaders in the states, we want to facilitate ways for our graduates to reconnect, strategize, and inspire collaboration in their efforts in policy and culture.

This past weekend, almost 50 alumni from every Mentorship Academy class (2016 through 2022) gathered in Charleston, S.C. to tour the historic city and connect with old and new friends. What a time we had!

Read Our Newsletter on the Trip HERE

“I lost my voice within two days of being with my people again, and that’s just how much laughter we shared this weekend. The first annual Forge Alumni Reunion was more than a success!”   

~Lydia Hocevar, 2020-2021

We had two interconnected goals for the trip: A.) provide an exciting, fun environment and location for fellowship and B.) do it in the context of learning and wrestling with America’s founding principles and history. 

During our three days in Charleston, we visited historic landmarks throughout Charleston that tell pivotal stories of America’s colonial history, revolution, Civil War, and even World War II. All the while, we soaked up some much-appreciated February sunshine.

You also cannot experience the history of Charleston without wrestling, as our nation did, with a complicated and even contradictory mix of ideals and institutions. As our guide for the trip, Michael Hamilton, said, “While America may have been born in Boston, Charleston is where lovers of liberty confront the root causes of slavery alongside the issue of states rights. Pound for pound, no city in America contributed more to the American heritage, spanning four centuries, from its first settlement in Indian Territory through the Cold War.” 

This week of friendship and learning was only possible because of amazing Forge champions like you. Your dedication to young leaders’ growth and collective impact for decades to come is why we are able to host wonderful events like this alumni reunion.

We are confident that Forge Alumni Network experiences like this will foster alumni who encourage, challenge, and inspire each other in communities across the nation.


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.

Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council. He combines extensive legal, political, and policy experience with a love for the way biblical truth cultivates human flourishing.