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  • Champion Freedom at Your High School

    8/22/2011 4:20:19 PM Posted by Ron Meyer

    Freedom Week at Janie's High SchoolMy name is Janie Abel, and when I was a junior in high school in western New York, I started a conservative student group through Young America’s Foundation.  The Foundation’s book, The Conservative Guide to Campus Activism [latest edition to be available soon], walked me through all the steps to get started and became my blueprint for running a conservative club.

    At first, I was nervous that no one else at school would be interested in my club, and that there were no other conservatives passionate enough to become activists with me.  I made posters and flyers all by myself. However, after posting them around school more than a dozen kids showed up at my first meeting!  Kids I had never talked to before, who I had no idea were interested in conservatism, came to the meeting excited to get involved.  And these kids started to look at me as a leader for having the guts to start a club for them.

    YAFreedom LogoWe jumped right into activism initiatives by organizing YAF’s 9/11: Never Forget Project and Freedom Week, and used the public relations guidelines in the Conservative Guide to publicize our efforts to the local media.  Before I knew it, my club was one of the most prominent student organizations at my school.

    Unlike in college, where your school may allot a certain amount for your club to spend each semester, high school students often have to raise their own money for their group’s budgets.  I raised a few hundred dollars for our 9/11 flags by going door-to-door to local small businesses asking for donations.  People are happy to help if you have the courage to ask. 

    Starting and running my own conservative club turned out to be the most rewarding part of my high school career.  When I got to college, I already had so many ideas and experience through the Foundation, that I was elected to a leadership position in our college conservative group while I was only a freshman.

    Being a high school activist also opened up doors for me to speak at national conservative conferences, receive scholarships for college, and obtain two internships within the Conservative Movement.  Young America’s Foundation was my introduction and my key to becoming a young conservative leader. 

    Steps to Start Your High School YAF Chapter:

    1. Research your school’s procedures for starting a club.  You may have to fill out paperwork to have your group recognized by the school.
    2. Ask other students and teachers who the more conservative teachers are at your school.  Whether you need a faculty advisor or not, having a faculty member to mentor you and offer advice will be a great help!
    3. Publicize your first meeting as much as possible, even more than you think is necessary!  You want to draw as many students as possible, even those you don’t know personally. Also, reach out to fellow conservative students who speak out in class because they’re likely to have strong opinions and have a desire to get involved!
    4. Initiate activism projects like the 9/11: Never Forget Project and Freedom Week and frequently pass out flyers to introduce students to new issues.  The best way to retain your members is to give everyone tasks on a regular basis.
    5. Organize weekly meetings to go over your activism goals, and to discuss current events and issues.  Most of your peers are still developing their beliefs and values so provide lists of conservative books, columns, and websites that your members should check out. 
    6. Movie screenings are an affordable and effective way to have an event that exposes many students to conservatism.  Host a screening of a documentary, such as Young America’s Foundation’s Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch.
    7. If you want to have a speaking event, consider bringing a graduate from your school or community who has furthered his or herself in the Conservative Movement.  Club members will be inspired by the advice and stories of success that an alumnus can offer!


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