In 1998, an enthusiastic young attorney named Rick Green was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. Representative Green was a passionate conservative, but grew concerned by the lack of understanding and adherence to conservative principles he saw in his colleagues. He quickly realized that the solution was not to change those already in government, but to train up a new generation of conservative leaders. An idea began to form. He thought, “Why not create a program that combines hands-on political training with instruction in true conservative principles?” Representative Green presented his idea to friends and leaders who shared his vision to promote conservatism and train young leaders. In 2000, they formed The Torch of Freedom Foundation as the first step in realizing their goal.
The members of the board began to lay the groundwork for Patriot Academy, a weeklong summer program to train students in conservative principles and practical politics, with an emphasis on godly character. During this time, Rick Green completed his service as a state representative and joined WallBuilders, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving America’s godly heritage. WallBuilders embraced Patriot Academy and sponsors it as an outstanding tool to raise up the next generation of godly leaders in America.
The first session of Patriot Academy was held at the Texas State Capitol in summer of 2003. Students ages 16-25 came from around the nation to attend. Combining interactive workshops, a mock-legislative session, and individual mentoring, the program struck a chord. The young people who came had shared a deep desire to make a difference in their nation, but didn’t know where to start. They left elated, finally understanding how to get involved and be a part of the future of their nation. (Read what students say about their experience at Patriot Academy)
Today, Patriot Academy is the premiere political training program in the nation. The leadership of Patriot Academy has experienced great joy as they have watched alumni apply what they have learned in all walks of life, including the political sphere. Students of the Academy have gone on to serve as campaign consultants, pro-life activists, legislative staffers, candidates and elected officials. (Read our students’ stories)
No better reward could be asked, and no deeper gratification could be experienced than to watch the next generations accept the Torch of Freedom and dedicate their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to keep it burning brightly.