Answering the Call FAQs

How do I apply to participate in an Answering the Call program?
The application process for our Spring Answering the Call programming will open in early February 2018.  Sign up for our emails to make sure you get the word that the process has launched! 

What is Answering the Call?
Answering the Call is a leadership development experience intended to create a space that invites alumni of service programs 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. It is also NOT a motivational seminar, in which participants will encounter speakers or content designed to convince them to run for office. Rather, 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 journey open to alumni of service programs including the military, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and related experiences.  The first session is three hours long; the next three sessions are 90 minutes long.  For one night a week for four weeks, participants will come together with fellow servant leaders for a small group learning and discussion experience. Sessions will be led by facilitators who have been selected and trained by the New Politics Leadership Academy. 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 15-45 minutes to complete.  

What are the goals of ATC?
ATC has three goals:

1) Engage alumni of service programs (both military and civilian) 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 program alumni that have engaged seriously and substantively with the question of whether they feel personally call to serve through politics.  

Should I participate in an Answering the Call program?
Are you an alum of either a military or civilian service program? 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 in your soul; 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 is saying to you. 

If you are an alumnus of a service program who is already 100% certain that you plan to run for office, this program probably isn’t for you. We encourage you to reach out to us directly to explore how we might support you in your candidacy and campaign.

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 politics at any level: local, state, or national. 

What are the expectations of participants upon completion of Answering the Call?
If you are arrive at the end of the learning journey 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. 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 am 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 campaign manager, chief of staff, policy advisor, or other some other related role, 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

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 ten months. Military veterans qualify, as do alumni of full-time, long-term civilian service programs like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, TFA, City Year, YouthBuild, 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 in general, 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 Max Klau at

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 ten 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. 

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 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 session 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 State 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 Max Klau, Chief Program Officer at the New Politics Leadership Academy, at

Created with NationBuilder