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Founding Forward

Since 1987, AMVETS and the AMVETS National Service Foundation have offered this unique educational experience at Founding Forward (formerly Freedoms Foundation) in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to give young people a better appreciation of their freedoms granted by the United States Constitution.

The Spirit of America Program is a four-day conference centering on topics such as freedom, civil rights and civic responsibilities, citizenship, public policy, self-development and leadership, entrepreneurship and salient aspects of American history. Programs allow students to explore within themselves their interpersonal characteristics and leadership potential through leadership skills workshops, group skills activities, and discussions with fellow participants. Programs are designed to provide an opportunity for students to participate in discussions with authoritative and articulate representatives from government, industry, and the academic community.

First place department winners of the 9th grade AMVETS National Americanism Essay contest receive an all-expense paid trip to the seminar. Sponsorship is for the student only, not for accompanying parents or guardians. Students are met at the Philadelphia airport by chaperones and are monitored throughout the four day conference and returned to the Philadelphia airport.


If departments do not conduct such a contest, department leadership may select one deserving student to represent their respective states and still benefit from the NSF sponsorship. Students selected must be 10th through 12th graders with exemplary conduct.


All posts and departments are encouraged to sponsor, at their own expense, additional students. Names and addresses of 9th grade essay winners and other deserving students must reach the National Programs Department by 31 August.

The conference dates are always the same. The first Thursday in November through the following Sunday. (4 days)

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