My daughter attended the Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute's Great Connections Seminar in July, 2013. Her experience was life-altering. Our daughter was a shy, intelligent bookworm who couldn't care less about politics, civilized debate, logic, or philosophy. Instead, she preferred "practical" knowledge that she could process by herself and put into action. The foundations of this "practical knowledge" was uninteresting to her -- before the seminar. I knew she would benefit from reading Alexis de Tocqueville, Francis Bacon, Aristotle. I knew she would benefit from visiting art museums, businesses, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home. I knew she would benefit from the philosophical nature of the seminars and the Socratic-style classroom discussions. What I didn't anticipate was a completely transformed child coming home -- one who spoke with confidence in her opinions and an interest in the "big" questions and their connections to the practical world. In addition to my beautiful daughter emerging from her shell, she now has a firm appreciation for her personal liberties and accepts that her participation is necessary for her to retain her autonomy in society.
And my normally shy daughter made a group of friends in this one week (just seven days!) that she'll have for a lifetime. As her mom, I couldn't be more pleased. These kids were all high-achieving, responsible, and intellectually curious ... just the kind of kids I love for my children to be around.
I should also note that we were given a scholarship to help my daughter attend. Initially, the cost for the seminar was a bit daunting, but the President (Marsha Enright) was eager to work with us to enable my daughter to attend. We are both still very appreciative that the scholarships were available.