AUSTIN, Texas -- Dozens of American youth recently traded a week of summer vacation to learn about politics and American history.
They travelled to Austin, Texas, to attend the Patriot Academy, a sort of political boot camp for ages 16-25.
The goal of the academy is to equip the next generation with the tools they need to bring America back to its founding principles.
Specifically, it trains young people to effectively engage in all aspects of government -- from elected official to citizen activist.
Rick Green, a speaker for the national pro-family organization WallBuilders, started the program.
"I was a member here in the legislature and I realized just after a few months of being here involved in debates that a lot of people said 'Well, I'm a conservative' or 'I believe in what the founding fathers believed' or 'I'm a Christian' or whatever.
"But then I looked at how they voted and I'm like 'How do you match that up? Your values are not matching your vote,'" he said.
Under Green's program, student legislators learn how to write bills, debate and pass laws.
Patriot Academy student Edward Jaacks is a huge fan of the program.
"Knowing [that] since you're younger, the more you know, the more credible you are when you go out into the real world," he said. "So, the more I know about the process and the details when I go out to talk to people… it gives you more credibility."
Many students like Emily simply want to make their country better.
"I am also hoping to take away a vision for what our country can be and what we can do to bring our country back to its founding principles," she said.
Another student, Alyse Ullery, expressed similar sentiments.
"I'm really concerned with the degradation of our country's morals, the way we have ignored our Constitution, the foundation that we had so many years ago," Ullery told CBN News.
"People's apathy really concerns me," Ullery added. "No one seems to care and that's why it's so important to be here to make sure that young people… care about where this country is headed."
That includes debating today's major social issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun control.
"We don't play with the easy issues," Green said. "They learn how to analyze the issue, how to win the issue, not just saying 'Hey, because the Bible says this, that's the way it's got to be.' They learn how to win with reason."
Green believes the academy is fulfilling its vision of preparing a new generation to change America.
"I believe God is raising up a remnant, a remnant of people that are passionate about His Word - passionate about putting the nation before themselves," Green said.
Studen John Moore calls his generation the "guardians of freedom."
"We're the guardians of freedom in this next generation and it's our privilege and responsibility to step up to the challenge," he said. "But we don't know how. Nobody's there to show us the way except for Patriot Academy."