In Their Own Words – Julia Bender

Every year, hundreds of leaders receive training from Patriot Academy. And every year that number is increasing! Through email updates, our social media, and the Patriot Press, we work to keep you informed about the impact that supporters like you are having through Patriot Academy’s work.

It’s one thing for us to tell you about the impact Patriot Academy is having, and the difference it is making in the hearts and lives of America’s leaders, but it’s another thing for us to show you.

And what better way than through the testimony of the students themselves.


Name: Julia Bender

Age: 17

State: Oklahoma

Year(s) attended: 1

What first got you interested in Patriot Academy?

I had a friend who mentioned it to me, so I looked into it and was immediately very intrigued. What I read about it on the website sounded amazing, and I knew I wanted to attend when I turned sixteen.

Was the experience what you had expected? Why or why not?

Yes, it was, and I loved every minute of it! The only thing I would say is that, honestly, it was a little easier than I originally expected. Heading into it, I was a worried that I wouldn’t be able to do everything they might ask of the students. I wondered if I could really remember the committee phrases or present a bill, etc. Now, having been able to do that, I see how PA has an excellent balance between challenging the students and making the entire program a blast!

Has Patriot Academy changed the direction where you see your life heading?

Well, I already had a passion for cultural change, particularly in the area of politics when I came to PA. So, in that regard, it didn’t change what I was interested in, but it definitely inspired me to keep fighting. I find that, at times, it’s easy to look around and wonder if one person can really make a difference for the Kingdom of God. The answer is a resounding, “Yes,” and PA reminded me of this fact. I walked away from a week at PA with a renewed determination to make an impact on society.

What particular skills did Patriot Academy teach you that you are using today?

I think the main ‘skill’ is simply learning to just serve wherever I can. One of the speaker’s questions has really stuck with me since PA. He asked us this: “Are you willing to carry the bags of the ones who change the world?” Since PA, I have had an opportunity to work on some anti-pornography legislation in my home state of OK; but, because I am still a minor, I wasn’t able to take on the role I had thought I would have. While I was disappointed about it, I’m learning to be willing to do whatever I can! I’m currently helping by organizing a team of young people to lobby for the legislation.

Beyond that, I would say that PA definitely helped me refine my ideals and the way I communicate them to others. Learning to present beliefs in a convincing manner is something that I use certainly in the political arena, but elsewhere as well.

What was the most important thing you learned at Patriot Academy?

Raz Shafer said, “Whatever you do, crush it.” That really sums up the most important thing I learned (and am still learning) at PA, because it extends beyond politics. It’s just so amazing, because I think that when PA says, “We train champions,” they really do — but in the truest sense of the phrase. PA is teaching me, and so many others, that to be a champion, you just need faith, determination, and a servant’s heart. God can really use people like that.

Thank you Patriot Academy!

Want to get involved so that more young leaders

like Elizabeth can continue being trained through Patriot Academy?

Get started 


Comments are closed.


I loved the experience that the Patriot Academy gave me. I definitely want to return to the Academy again!



AFA logo