Peaceful Options for Training and Careers (POTC) — formerly known as Alternatives to Military Enlistment Network (AMEN) — has formed a steering committee, recruited volunteers and begun its work to counter the recruitment of youth by the U.S. military. POTC is an independent initiative that began as an outgrowth of a collaboration between Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Church USA.
The new steering committee is working on initiatives ranging from fundraising to providing tangible ways for young adults to participate. The steering committee members are Kat Brennen, Jes Stoltzfus Buller, Anne Meyer Byler, Max Lewis, Mike Martin, Mícheál McEvoy, Titus Peachey, Joe Roos, Fred Suter and Marlin Yoder.
One of the first items the steering committee solidified was the initiative’s name. After brainstorming possible names, the committee settled on Peaceful Options for Training and Careers: Alternatives to Enlistment. The name describes the mission and provides the English-language acronym POTC, a creative counter to the U.S. military’s high school recruitment program, known as ROTC (Reserved Officers Training Corps).
Roos, chair of the Mennonite Palestine Israel Network, said, “With the U.S. military aggressively recruiting [high school students] with visions of a glorious future, enlistment can become an attractive possibility. But based upon our Anabaptist commitment to nonviolence, we want to let young people know that there are peaceful and meaningful alternatives to enlistment.”
A second item that the steering committee did was to gather 10 potential counselors for orientation to POTC and the task of counseling for this purpose.
“It was an enthusiastic group, eager to provide practical help to young adults seeking an alternative to military enlistment. Some are now busy researching alternatives in preparation for more in-depth training in the fall,” said Peachey, former coordinator for Peace Education, Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
“Mennonites have a long history of conscientious objection and commitment to service; POTC offers a place for folks passionate about antimilitarism to provide tangible support to young adults looking for alternatives to military service,” added Jes Stoltzfus Buller, current Peace Education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
The steering committee plans to continue their work, including launching a new website, counseling and fundraising.