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2023 Patriotic Picnic; Recap

By, Michelle Hazekamp

July 24, 2023

A Hot-Dogging Time

The Patriotic Picnic turned out to be a hot-dogging time for those who attended. What began as a cloudy, drizzly morning on Saturday, July 22nd, rose to a sunshine filled day with fellowship, great food and speakers in celebration of patriotism and the warm sunshine months of summer.

One of the Largest Ballrooms in West Michigan

Pamona Park, located in Fruitport Township, was the location for this years Patriotic Picnic. The park sits on a hill overlooking Spring Lake with a picnic pavilion, new playground, amphitheater and boat launch. This park was once home to the famous "Pamona Pavilion," built in 1901 by a railway company and was one of. the largest ballrooms in West Michigan with a capacity for 1000 people. It attracted many of the big bands of the day, including performances by Louie Armstrong and Bill Haley and the Comets. Sadly, it was destroyed by a fire in 1963. Remnants of the pilons still exist protruding from the waters edge to this day.

Our Master Grillers

As the picnic got underway, guests were served hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings, curtesy of our master grillers, Carl Fiorenzo, Steve Null & Bob Cain. After dinner, we welcomed our guest speakers, beginning with our GOP Chair, Malinda Pego, who read the Republican Party Platform that outlines our values.

Champion for Parental Rights

Kindsey Nelson, a homeschool mother from Oakland County who, after enrolling her oldest son into high school his freshman year, was hit head on with the mask mandate chaos in the fall of 2021. She began inserting herself into local politics and attended the Oakland County Health Dept. protests. She soon realized the need for parents to organize and helped start the "Walled Lake Citizens for Parental Rights" (WLCPR). Through FOIA requests, they quickly learned that the Superintendent for Walled Lake Schools had the authority to make the decision regarding mask mandates, however, did not want to deal with it and had the Oakland County Health Dept. issue the mandate instead. With the help of the Thomas Moore Society, they were able to successfully end the mask mandate within 2 months. Eight other counties dropped their mask mandates as a result of the efforts made by the WLCPR and the Thomas Moore Society.

Birth of the Great Lakes Schools Initiative

Soon after successfully removing mask mandates, parent groups around the state began discovering inappropriate curriculum being taught to students and pornographic material offered in the school libraries. Out of an effort to organize and unite these parent groups, "The Great Schools Initiative" (GSI) was formed.

Does Your School Have an SAEB?

Kindsey spoke of MCL 380.1507, a current state law that mandates every school to have a Standard Associated Examining Board, or SAEB, that is required to form every two years. This board must consist of parents, students, educators, local clergy & health professionals. The purpose of this board is to review sex-ed curriculum and then bring recommendations for any changes to the school board. No outside sex-ed curriculum is allowed to be brought in by teachers unless reviewed by the SAEB and approved by the schools Board of Education. If a school is in non-compliance with this law, there is a process to report the school, and GSI is now able to assist with this on their website at: GSI has assisted with five complaints in Oakland and Benzie County. Benzie County agreed to comply, thus eliminating rogue sex-ed in their schools. GSI was also instrumental in assisting Birmingham schools in Oakland county stop the trans-pride celebration week.

Unethical Beuarocracy

Our next speaker was Nikki Snyder, a State Board of Education Member who was elected in 2016 with almost 2 million votes and is at the forefront of Michigan's woke battle with our schools. Nikki is a mom of 3, two of which were born with congenital anomalies due to medication she was prescribed during pregnancy. She is also a nurse, educator & advocate. She stated that the drug she was prescribed is now off the market thanks to elected bureaucrats who obeyed their constitutional duty and worked towards removing the dangerous drug. Now, we have bureaucrats and an FDA that is not protecting us, and instead turning a blind eye to unethical practices for profit. This is why it is so crucial to have checks & balances in place.

Results in Education, Not Indoctrination

As a nurse she was able to bring the truth about the Covid virus to the board and oppose the mandates in an articulate way. Now, Governor Whitmer is creating a new unconstitutional State Department (MILEAP) that can over-ride decisions made by the State Board of Ed regarding decisions made for our schools & children. Nikki reiterated the failures of existing state departments such as the FDA, CMS, hosipitals, OSHA, the CDC, etc., and that we don't need more State Departments or bureaucratic bodies that are the direct reflection of dictatorial style leadership created with our tax dollars. Nikki says she has filed a lawsuit against Whitmer to fight this and we will be seeing it in the news soon.

Fighting for Us at Every Level

Nikki has always fought for transparency & accountability, and results in education, not indoctrination in our classrooms. She is now running for the U.S. Senate (Debbie Stabenow's seat) in the upcoming 2024 election; she fought for us at the board table and will now fight for us in the U.S. Senate.

What is the Definition of Inclusion?

Rylee Linting, our MIGOP Youth Chair, was full of spirit and enthusiasm as she updated us on her plans to get our Young Republicans engaged. Rylee reminded us that college students are not on campus due to it being summer break, and are not typically responsive to being engaged during this time.

Rylee reported on the end of school year events, and how our tax dollars are not only being used to teach inappropriate sex education in lower education, but on our college campus's as well. Commencement ceremonies on some campus's this year were segregated based on race and sexual preferences, implemented by Diversity, Equity & Inclusion groups. Rylee stated, "Obviously they don't know the definition of "Inclusion."

Many Young Conservatives to Reach

Rylee has found that there are more young conservatives than what we all initially believed, and when school resumes in the fall she will focus on attending collage "Life Nights" at campus' throughout the state, and learn how we can best help them to be successful.

No Interest in GOP Events?

Rylee also pointed out that Young Republicans are not interested in "GOP" events. "It's just not their thing, and we have to find other ways to reach them." Over the course of the summer, she has been attending many local community events throughout the state and has been recruiting young conservatives by directing them to different groups and resources (other than the GOP), such as Turning Point.

Fostering Support & Courage

Her plans include setting up an account where she can provide stipends for youth volunteers, like the Democrats do, to entice further encouragement on getting involved and to eliminate money as a reason. She also wants to send young conservatives to the Mackinaw event this fall who are not yet involved, rather than only those who are. Most "first experiences" into politics is knocking on doors, which is typically a turn-off, especially after getting a door slammed in their face." By sending new, inexperienced Young Republicans to Mackinaw in September, she hopes to strengthen support & courage before throwing them to the wolves with door knocking.

What is The Black Robe Regiment?

New to our stage this year was the introduction of "The Liberty Pastors." Liberty Pastors are a patriotic group of clergy leaders who after Covid, have come together and resurrected what is known as "The Black Robe Regiment." Beginning with the unconstitutional government over-reach during Covid, and out of great concern for the direction spiritual battle our nation is engaged in, the Black Robe Regiment has risen up once again.

The Black Robe Regiment has its beginnings in the Revolutionary War and consisted of influential clergymen who promoted American independence and supported the military struggle against Britain. By encouraging the Patriot cause, those ministers helped muster critical support among members of their congregation and were an integral part of winning the war and our independence. Although serving the same purpose, the new Black Robe Regiment has changed the name to "The Liberty Pastors," in order to accommodate modern thought, as "Black Robe" can give an initial negative impression.

Our Freedom of Conscious

Pastor Carlson was our Liberty Pastor speaker Saturday, and is a Pastor of a Presbyterian church in Grand Rapids. He has been in ministry for 40 years. His presentation was quite powerful as he began explaining how the concept of "faith, family & freedom" are coming to an end in our country as God is under attack. We are under a spiritual attack in an attempt to destroy our "freedom of conscience," and is what defines a totalitarian state. When you destroy the persons freedom of conscious, you destroy God in a society, The battle has moved into the issue of gender with the over-attempt to destroy the concept of male & female." The creation of male & female is what gives us our first picture of God in the Bible; being made in His image, both male & female.

What Role Do Our Leaders Have In This Agenda?

Pastor Carlson emphasized Governor Whitmer & A.G. Dana Nessel's role in this agenda by way of recent new laws that make it a crime to offend people for not using preferred pronouns, legalizing transgender mutilations for school age kids, etc., all of which whittles away our Constitutional rights and attempt to destroy the family.

The Destruction of a Republic

He continued by speaking about how the church is on their radar and that history shows how the foundation of Communism begins with the destruction of family & God, by first going after the church. During Covid, churches watched the rise of a totalitarian state when they were forced to close and liquor stores remained open. "It was then that we left a Constitutional Republic and entered into a totalitarian regime." Pastor Carlson went on to state that during peace time, Communist China and Russia have killed over 100 million of their own citizens.

The Watchers

Pastor Carlson went on to explain that the majority of people really don't know what is going on and have no idea we are headed in this direction. The church has to start speaking up, teaching discernment and dealing with what is happening to our nation. "If not, our communities and state are going to continue to drift and our freedom of conscious will be gone," he stated. "Our freedoms are going to slip away." He continued by saying that many pastors who are standing up, believe they are going to end up in jail in the next couple of years. "Pastors are supposed to be the watchers and warn and protect against what is coming."

The Real Concept of Separation

Pastor Carlson also said that the reason most churches do nothing is because they don't want to be involved in politics, and there is a misunderstanding of the concept of "the separation of church & state." This has become a progressive, leftist agenda to remove God. The phrase, "Separation of Church & State," is not even in our Constitution. It was actually a statement written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist in Maryland, promising that the state would never intrude on the freedoms and liberties of the church thereby promising that the church and religious freedom will always be protected from government intrusion.

The Government Has No Conscience

Pastor Carlson ended his speech with a strong reality of truth; "The government has no conscience. Only individuals have conscience, and they and the church were meant to be the conscience of the state. This is a time for churches, pastors and congregations to get engaged and troops in the field. Be the salt & light that Jesus said we should be."

A Sweet Surprise

We ended the evening with a surprise guest, Alexandria Taylor. Ms. Taylor is a lawyer from Detroit and has stepped into the U.S. Senate race in an attempt to take Debbie Stabenow's seat. She grew up as a Democrat, because her whole family was. But in truth, her family was very conservative. Her story is like many other families of color, where they vote Democrat because of lies they have been told and tradition.

Wrong Party!

While running for a judiciary seat in 2020 and then losing, she decided to get involved in the Democratic Party. She explained that after seeing how "demonic" the party was, she determined she absolutely could not be a part of it and left. Her journey led her to the Republican Party which held her values.

Attacked From Within

Because her profession dominated by Democrats, she has been persecuted and demonized since filing her candidacy on the Republican Party ticket. The left has now weaponized the Attorney Grievance Commission against her and has filed two grievances against her law license; not regarding clients, but for politics. Alexandria expected she would be under attack, and before setting up her campaign team, she set up a prayer team.

A Democrat Stronghold

Alexandria educated us with some interesting history about the Senate seat that Debbie Stabenow currently holds. She explained that twenty years ago, Debbie Stabenow unseated a one-term Republican, Spencer Abraham. But before him, we have not had a republican in this seat since the 1950's. It's time to break the stronghold!

A Calling for His Glory

Alexandria Taylor says this is not about her, it's about a movement of God, and God has called her to this. He will use her in this season to help us take our country back to the Biblical principles it was founded on.

Great Warriors, New Found Hope

The Patriotic Picnic gave opportunity for fellowship & a refreshed hope for our future. We have many great warriors fighting all fronts against the evil that is before us and we have been further encouraged to carry on.

Ephesians 6:11

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.


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