Highlights of Freedom Academy Week:
Teaching Young Leaders About Freedom
The Utah National Guard and the Honorary Colonels Corps has sponsored the annual Freedom Academy since 1961. The purpose of Freedom Academy is to teach our young leaders the importance of all aspects of freedom-that freedom does come with a price and that it is every American citizen's responsibility to ensure freedom is there for generations to come.
Over the past 50 years, more than 3,400 "delegates" have participated in this unique and historic program. When Freedom Academy started in 1961, four delegates attended that inaugural year; in 2011, there were 105 delegates.
There are approximately 117 high schools throughout the state of Utah; this includes charter, private and public schools. Each year Freedom Academy invites two student-body officers from each high school senior class. There are a number of schools, more so in the outlying areas of the state, where students run for student government because they know this will ensure the opportunity to attend Freedom Academy the following year. As the Utah National Guard is the host for this program, they have also allowed its members to invite family members, neighbors or friends who meet the criteria of a student leader to attend.
Over the past 50 years there have been a number of sponsors that have donated goods and/or services contributing to the success of the program. The Honorary Colonels Corp of Utah is a major contributor. The Wangelin family, whose son attended Freedom Academy, joined the National Guard and later passed away, donated a substantial amount of money to Freedom Academy in their son's name. Coca-Cola, Wilkinson's Trophy, Sam's Club, Associated Food Stores, Macey's, Hostess and the men and women of the Utah Army and Air National Guard are all contributors.
There have been numerous individuals who have donated their personal time to share their experiences with these young leaders of America. Mr. Scott Anderson has been a main stay as one of the keynote speakers for more than 18 years. Former Senator, Astronaut, and Air Force Brigadier General Jake Garn also shares his experiences each year. Others include Mr. Mike Schlappi, Mr. Thurl Bailey, Mr. Lavar Christensen, Vocalocity and countless numbers of Soldiers and Airmen sharing their deployed stories about freedom.
How Much It Costs
Freedom Academy covers the cost for each delegate to attend, free of charge, and the average yearly cost to run the Academy is approximately $10,000.