By: Taylor Harvey
I’ll admit, I went into Areté Academy a bit apprehensively.
The weeklong program put on by Alliance Defending Freedom combines professional development with Christian leadership, training college students and recent graduates to impact the culture for Christ. Because I am not a pre-law or law student and ADF is a legal organization, though, I was worried that I would feel out of place.
It turns out that I had absolutely no reason at all to fear! This program is a perfect opportunity for anyone who is passionate about furthering the work of the Kingdom, regardless of his or her area of study.
Here were just a few of the highlights from the week:
The variety of speakers and topics kept me constantly engaged, and I walked away from each session feeling confident that I had gained valuable information. The large sessions focused on educating us more about the issues that ADF fights for every day: religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. It was inspiring to see professionals who are successful in their field fighting for the same things that I believe are important.
I also gained practical information and strategies to implement into my education and subsequent career. The tools that I gained from this program give me confidence to fight for truth in a world that often rejects it.
This program not only gives you a wealth of information, it gives you a network of like-minded individuals that are all committed to fighting for the Lord.
At the start of the week, you are given a team. It’s this group of people that you meet with and get to know throughout the course of the week. I loved this opportunity to connect with my peers and have more in-depth conversations in this tight-knit setting. At the same time, I was able to interact with all the attendees; I met so many wonderful people and developed lasting friendships. Since the program, I have connected with one of my fellow Areté classmates in Spain. We were able to grab a meal and catch up all the way across the world!
We also were given a mentor for our group. My mentor was so insightful and was able to answer questions that some of the speakers may not have gotten time to answer in the large group. By the end of the week, I left feeling that the mentors and leaders of the program genuinely cared about the students. They are so passionate about the work that they do, and they are passionate about equipping the next generation to take up the fight. I never felt as though I was another “student” lost in the crowd. Instead, I felt as though I was a noticed part of a whole.
I would highly recommend this training program to anyone who is passionate about protecting our human rights and proclaiming the name of Jesus. Regardless of your area of study, or the school you come from, you will walk away from Areté with an arsenal of materials and information, as well as a team to back you up!