Thirty-six high school students arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday, February 4. They came by planes, trains, and automobiles. They slept in an old jail. They went to court. They went to the theatre. Well, sort of. They attended question period in the House of Commons. They ate Beaver Tails, checked out the Rideau Canal, made new friends, and experienced the travel delights of delays and cancellations due to a whopping snowfall.
But most importantly, they came for politics. That’s where the fun really began. The students listened to presentations from a Reformed, biblical view of politics.
This was followed by an “ideation workshop” where students generated ideas for action – for educating and equipping others – in their churches and school communities, and in the public square. It was cool to witness this collaboration and peer evaluation of each group’s ideas. It didn’t take much time for them to move from politics and policy to political action.
Next on the agenda was a mock MP meeting demo by two ARPA staffers. This transitioned nicely into lobbying presentations about euthanasia, pre-born human rights, and prostitution/human trafficking. After these presentations it was the students’ turn to perform! They applied their new learning by attending meetings with “fake MPs” (including two retired MPs) who coached them on their lobbying. This culminated in the “real deal” when the students lobbied MPs and Senators the next day. In just one day the students went from practice to performance!
Friday, the final day, began with an inspirational keynote address by Rutledge Etheridge III, author of God Breathed. Rut encouraged the students to take the world, their Father’s world, very personally, very patriotically and to steward it well in the name of their Savior. He reminded them that the righteousness they’ve been learning and lobbying all week, will fully, and forever pervade this world.
Later that day, Blaise Alleyne, co-author of A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide, taught the students how to engage people in fruitful discussions about assisted suicide on the streets. Then they went out in the snowy Ottawa streets and did it – articulation to activism in just a few hours.
So, it was a content-filled and action-packed three days where the students went from politics to political action, from presentation to performance, and from articulation to activism. In short: Educate! Execute! Evaluate! And it’s our hope and prayer that the GGY 2020 participants return to their schools inspiring their peers to be educators, executors, and evaluators as ambassadors of Jesus Christ in their homes, schools, churches, communities and in the public square. To God be the glory!