The Forge Leadership Summit, hosted by the Forge Leadership Network, is held annually at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, Ohio. It is a five day training for 16-24 years olds about conservative principles and concepts and includes a two day legislative simulation at the Ohio Statehouse. The mission of Forge is to identify the best and brightest of the next generation and to train, mentor, and connect them to become the next conservative leaders in the public square. In my opinion, it does exactly what it is set out to do.
” At Forge, we believe in leadership. We know that today’s conservative victories depend on tomorrow’s conservative leaders.”
-Adam Josefczyk, Forge Executive Director
The first two days of the Summit included talks from some of the greatest leaders in the conservative and pro-life movement over wide-ranging topics that include, but are not limited to: Economics and American Exceptionalism, Ethics and Life, Limited Government, International Relations, and Media Training. We also participated in a Campaign-in-a-Challenge put on by American Majority that gave us a sense of the environment within a campaign and how they work.
The next two days of Forge were held at the Ohio Statehouse where we were taught legislative strategy and got to pass our own written bills through committee and debate and pass bills on the House Floor. The process of the legislative simulation was guided by the Forge staff and even some of Ohio’s own State Representatives. The experience at the Statehouse shows how the legislative process is done and how government actually works.
On the last day of Forge, we got to hear from the week’s keynote speaker, Robert Ekoniak, who is a retired Navy Seal. He spoke to the us about the Navy Seal’s Ethos, or their creed, and how we can apply that creed to our Christian Conservative lifestyle, or that we can create our own creed and live by it. He provided us with information that will serve us well not only in our future career, but information that will also serve us well in our personal lives when interacting with family, friends, and even strangers. The Summit ended with a talk about how we use the information obtained at Forge to make a difference in our lives and in our communities.
Perhaps, the best part about Forge, for me at least, was getting to meet, work with, and spend the week with like-minded people from around the country. The friendships made at Forge are not friendships that end at the end of the week, but rather ones that will last a lifetime. Networking with peers, the speakers, and those at the Forge Summit Showcase, alone makes the whole week worth it. And of course, the week would not be possible if God had not inspired a vision in those who make Forge possible, Adam Josefczyk, Executive Director of Forge, and Justin Powell, Forge Chairman of the Board.
For more information about the Forge Leadership Summit and how to get involved, please visit http://forgeleadership.org