My 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.
We 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: