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Middle schoolers on campus for Civic Literacy and Leadership Camp

08.21.2013 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
Civic Camp Fred Slabach

With a mock election and a mock legislative session, 50 students gained a better understanding of state processes during a four-day Civic Literacy and Leadership Camp that was held on campus. State Senator Wendy Davis organized the event, which was for middle school students in her district.

The camp focused on election and legislative processes so that students would learn more about how everything works and would be encouraged to get involved. Designed for maximum student participation, the camp culminated with a youth town hall meeting on the final day.

President Frederick G. Slabach was among the dignitaries who spoke to the students about personal experiences. He told the group about legislative activity during his time in Washington, D.C., and about his role as CEO of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

Slabach, who earned a law degree from Columbia University School of Law, described the process of drafting a federal bill and how legislative processes vary between the House and the Senate. He told the students what a great opportunity they were getting — to learn so much about the process at their age.

"I was a senior in high school when I first had the chance to do something like this," he said.

Texas Wesleyan participants

In addition to the president, three other participants had either direct or indirect ties to the University:

Cecilia Hill ’11 assisted the camp personnel in planning and working with students throughout the event. She teaches 8th grade social studies and runs the Youth in Government Club at McLean Middle School, so the camp goals are similar. Hill brought a handful of her students from her club to the activities.

Samantha Max, a Hatton Sumners Scholar and senior English student, served as a LegisLeader — which is similar to a camp counselor. She is chair of the College Republicans and a tutor in the Academic Success Center.

Kam Phillips, who works for Wendy Davis, had a more indirect connection. During the camp, she said her favorite person in the room was President Slabach because she was a Truman Scholar when he was leading the organization. Because of that scholarship, she was able to attend graduate school for free.

Dignitaries participating in camp

  • Frederick G. Slabach, president of Texas Wesleyan University
  • Wendy Davis, state senator
  • Joel Burns, Fort Worth city councilman
  • Marc Veasey ’95, U.S. Congressman
  • Tobi Jackson, Fort Worth Independent School District trustee
  • Kelly Allen Gray, Fort Worth city council member
  • Michael Marshall, TCU governmental relations manager
  • Douglas Swanson, Dallas Morning News writer and editor
  • Devan Allen, district director for State Rep. Chris Turner
  • Nicole Collier, state representative
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