Answering The Call FAQS
How do I apply to participate in an Answering the Call program?
Our formal application process for our fall 2018 cohort opens on September 5th, 2018, but if you already know you are interested, please visit this page to share some information about yourself. We will be sure to reach out once applications are open!
What is Answering the Call?
Answering the Call is a leadership development experience that invites service alumni to discern within themselves whether they feel personally called to serve through politics. It is NOT a traditional training designed to teach participants technical skills like how to plan a campaign or manage volunteers -- those kinds of skills are important, but they come later. We believe it’s critical to start with some deep reflection on core values, purpose, and mission, because these will make up the foundation of your service to the country and undergird everything you do after, from your message to your platform to the kind of team you build. ATC is also NOT a motivational seminar, in which participants will encounter speakers or content designed to convince them to run for office. This is an opportunity for participants to undertake a personal learning journey to reflect on whether they feel called to higher levels of political engagement.
What is involved in participating in Answering the Call?
ATC is a four-session learning program open to alumni of service programs including the military, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and related opportunities. The first session is three hours long; the next three sessions are 90 minutes long. For one night a week for four weeks, participants come together with fellow servant leaders for small group learning and discussion. Sessions are led by facilitators who we have selected and trained. 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 and 45 minutes to complete.
What are the goals of ATC?
ATC has three goals:
1) Engage service alumni in a reflection process that produces a new level of personal clarity about their interest in serving through politics
2) Guide participants to achieve a higher level of inner clarity regarding their own sense of calling to become more politically engaged
3) Build a pipeline of service alumni who have engaged seriously and substantively with whether they feel personally called to serve through politics
Should I participate in Answering the Call?
Have you served our country before? 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; 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's saying to you.
Please note: If you are an alumnus of a service program who is already 100% certain that you plan to run for office, this program may not be for you. We encourage you to reach out to us directly to explore how we might support you in you.
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 political service at any level: local, state, tribal, or national.
What are the expectations of participants upon completion of Answering the Call?
If you finish ATC 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 and an engaged citizen in our country. 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 i'm 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 political staffer, 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 Shaquanda Brown, at email@example.com.
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 10 months. Military veterans qualify, as do alumni of full-time, long-term civilian service programs like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, 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, 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 Shaquanda, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 10 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 right now, although we still applaud your service and hope you'll continue!
What if I can't attend all four sessions?
ATC is a short program, and we strongly encourage attending all four sessions to get the most out of the experience. That being said, we understand that conflicts may occur. The first session includes a great deal of essential content, so you MUST attend the first session in order to participate in the program. Participants who miss ONE of the remaining sessions will still be considered as having completed the program. Participants who miss two or more sessions will not be considered as having completed the program, and will not gain access to the resources made available to ATC alumni. Those individuals are of course welcome to apply again for a later cohort.
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 States 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 Shaquanda Brown, Program Associate, at New Politics Leadership Academy, at email@example.com.