Answering the Call FAQs

How do I apply to participate in an Answering the Call program?
To apply to participate, click here. The deadline for submitting an application is midnight on Friday, June 30th. You will find out if you have been accepted by Wednesday, July 5th at the latest. 

What is Answering the Call?
Answering the Call is a leadership development experience intended to create a space that invites alumni of service programs to get clear within themselves whether they feel personally called to become more politically engaged. It is NOT a traditional training designed to teach participants technical skills like how to plan a campaign or manage volunteers. It is also NOT a motivational seminar, in which participants will encounter speakers or content designed to convince them to run for office. Rather, this is an opportunity for participants to undertake a personal learning journey to get clear within themselves if they feel called to higher levels of political engagement. 

What is involved in participating in Answering the Call?
ATC is a four-session learning journey open to alumni of service programs including the military, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and related experiences.  For one night a week for four weeks, participants will come together for a small group learning and discussion experience.  There is no pre-work prior to the first session; participants are expected to complete reflection exercises in between each session that will require somewhere between 15-45 minutes to complete.  Sessions will be led by facilitators who have been selected and trained by the New Politics Leadership Academy.  The four sessions will occur one evening a week from the week of July 10th through early August 2017. 

What are the goals of ATC?
The goal of Answering the Call is to have every participant emerge from the experience with enhanced inner clarity regarding their own unique path forward towards increased political engagement.  Possibilities include feeling personally called to run for office, seeking a role as a staff person for a candidate or elected official, seeking appointed office, or exercising influence as a highly engaged citizen.  We understand and expect that some participants will emerge from the experience realizing that they do not feel a calling to run for office. We believe, however, that many participants will arrive at a recognition that they do, indeed, feel called to enter the arena, and all participants will emerge with a clearer understanding of the role they aspire to play in the civic life of our nation.  We have found that this inner sense of clarity and commitment is a vital prerequisite for all candidates, and we look forward to deepening our engagement with any participants who want to continue their service journey through politics.

Should I participate in an Answering the Call program?
Are you an alum of either a military or civilian service program? Have you ever found yourself wondering--with any degree of seriousness--if you feel called to pursue political office as part of your service journey? If you can answer “yes” to both of those questions, this program is for you. Perhaps you’ve experienced the call to seek office as a quiet, almost imperceptible whisper in your soul; perhaps it’s felt like a deafening shout. Either way, this program is designed to provide a rare and important opportunity to listen carefully to that voice and get clear about what it is saying to you. 

If you are an alumnus of a service program who is already 100% certain that you plan to run for office, this program probably isn’t for you. We encourage you to reach out to us directly to explore how we might support you in your candidacy and campaign.

I don’t want to run for Congress, but I’m interest in politics at the state or local level. Is this still for me?
Yes! This program is for individuals interested in politics at any level: local, state, or national. 

What are the expectations of participants upon completion of Answering the Call?
If you are arrive at the end of the learning journey with clarity that you do NOT feel called, then there are no additional expectations beyond a general hope that you will remain an active and involved servant leader in your community. If you arrive at clarity that you DO feel called, then we are eager to serve as a support and resource to you, to help you clarify your pathway into politics and provide additional trainings and support that focus on the more technical and tactical aspects of campaigning. 

I have no interest in becoming a candidate myself, but am intrigued by the possibility of working on political campaigns in some professional capacity. Should I participate in ATC?
Yes! There are many ways to get involved in politics as a servant leader that do not involve becoming a candidate yourself.  If you are interested in becoming a campaign manager, chief of staff, policy advisor, or other some other related role, you are still in our target audience and this will be a valuable experience for you. 

You are not offering an Answering the Call program in my city.  Can I still participate?
As noted above, we are running multiple virtual groups.  If you want to participate in ATC but do not live in one of the cities listed above, you are invited to apply to participate in the Virtual Cohort.  Note that space is limited, and applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis.  

Why are you charging a $50 fee?
This fee will offset the cost of the curriculum materials you’ll receive as well as other costs associated with facilitator training and the design and implementation of this program. It is also a small but meaningful financial commitment to engaging in this process. We hope this fee is not so large that it prohibits anyone from participating, but large enough to represent skin in the game. 

I want to participate, but the $50 fee is a financial hardship for me.  What do I do?
We are willing to consider waiving the fee on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to explore this possibility, email

Who qualifies as an “alumnus of a service program?”
We are looking for individuals who have completed a full-time service experience (either military or civilian) that lasted for at least ten months. Military veterans qualify, as do alumni of full-time, long-term civilian service programs like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, TFA, City Year, or related experiences. Alumni of year-long faith based service programs like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps or Avodah—the Jewish Service Corps are eligible as well. 

Individuals are not eligible if they completed short-term experiences like an Alternative Spring Break or summer service program, or if they have engaged in part-time but ongoing community service.  Although we honor the value of those experiences in general, our mission is to work with individuals who have demonstrated the commitment to complete a long-term, full time service experience. 

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact Max Klau at

I’m not an alumnus of a national service program. Can I still participate?
Unfortunately, not at this time.  Participants must have completed a long-term, full-time service program that lasted at least ten months.  Participants on short term service experiences (like alternative spring breaks or summer service programs) or individuals who have done community service that was not long-term and full time are not eligible. 

What have past participants said about the experience?

"My experience with the New Politics Academy drove home the reason I felt called to serving my country in the first place. Rarely have I been surrounded by such amazing and dedicated public servants. Where before I was unsure, the New Politics experience erased any personal doubts. Quite simply, it changed the way I see politics. Like never before, I feel ready and confident to explore new opportunities to seek public office."

                                                                                -Mark, United State Air Force Veteran

"Answering the Call is for any alumnae of National Service who has ever asked themselves, "What now? or What's next?". I had no idea if I was hearing the call to public service but this course allowed me to deeply reflect on how else I can give back to my country and to contribute to the issues I feel passionately about."

                                                                                       -Nikki, City Year AmeriCorps Alum

Thank you for giving me this opportunity. This has given new life to my dreams.  I have gone from being resigned to ignore my calling to figuring out what I need to make this happen. 

                                                                                          -Antonio, United States Navy Veteran

When and where are upcoming Answering the Call programs happening?
You can find all those details by clicking on the Answering the Call Program Information page of this website.

I have more questions!  Who can I contact?
Contact Max Klau, Chief Program Officer at the New Politics Leadership Academy, at

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