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Freedoms Foundation meeting set

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On Tuesday, November 24, at 6:30 p.m. all interested patriots are invited to a dinner gathering at the Pilot House Inn on Route 3 at Topping for the organizing of the Mary Ball Washington Chapter of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. 

The  goals of the chapter is to inform area citizens, particularly young upcoming leaders (high school juniors) what our forefathers endured to form this country, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and how the U.S. free enterprise system has made this country what it is today. “We need our future leaders to be educated in our freedoms and how important it is for them to protect these freedoms,” said Bankie Benton chapter organizer.

The Freedoms Foundation has an 80-plus acre campus with large brick buildings and dormitory-like rooms for students attending its four-day Youth Leadership Conference held in January, February and March each year. The property was given by E.F. Hutton in 1949 and General Eisenhower was the first CEO. Students from chapters around the country gather there to learn about their responsibility as an adult living in the U.S. All states have an acre plot with dedications to its Medal of Honor winners. Each of the chapel window panes has a portrait of a signer of the Declaration of  Independence. Also, there are many patriotic statues on the campus.

Benton, a Middlesex native, now living in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has served as president of the Broward County Chapter (the largest in the country) for the past two terms. Benton and her husband Bill have had two meetings at their Topping home to begin this organizational process. Benton has seen firsthand how meaningful this experience is to these young people and is anxious to see this Virginia Chapter offer this opportunity to students here.

The students from public and private schools are referred by guidance counselors and principals. They are then interviewed by chapter members and chosen to go to the conference. The Broward Chapter pays their expenses through scholarships given by benefactors, and they also have a George Washington Birthday Ball and other fundraisers. This year they are having businesses sponsor a child of an employee, who would have the same interview process. 

The cost of a student scholarship in Virginia is $450, which includes room and board, classroom activities such as debates between Jefferson and Hamilton, lectures by a successful entrepreneur, plus other studies and historical tours into Philadelphia.  The campus is adjacent to Valley Forge National Park.

“At present we are including Middlesex, Gloucester, Lancaster, Westmoreland and Northumberland counties,” said Benton. “The students chosen are always accompanied by a couple who serve as chaperones.”

The fried chicken and roast beef family style dinner at the Pilot House on Tuesday is $15 inclusive. Please call Clark and Jerry Waring at 758-3432 or e-mail Benton at to make a reservation, or call Benton at 954-551-4107 for additional information.

For more information on the Freedom Foundations, visit http://www.freedomsfoundation.org.

posted 11.18.2009

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