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  • Starting a YAF Chapter Can Change Your Life

    5/28/2013 4:06:36 PM Posted by Adam Tragone

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     Here are testimonials from some of our Young Americans for Freedom student leaders writing about all the incredible opportunities they have been afforded since they started a YAF chapter at their school.

     Spencer Brown, Regent University: 

    Both Young America's Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom have given me incredible opportunities this past year. 

    I started my freshman year at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As someone who had been moderately involved in conservative politics and activism in high school, I was looking for new opportunities to continue working to advance conservative principles. A friend and fellow activist recommended YAF to me, and I decided to get involved. There wasn't a Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Regent University, so I filed the appropriate paperwork with the University, and got started with YAF-a move I do not regret.

    After starting my chapter, the great people at YAF's headquarters were incredibly helpful with any questions I had, or activism initiatives I wanted to hold on campus. They first helped with the 9/11 Never Forget Project by providing my group and me with American flags, "Never Forget" pins, and flyers to raise awareness of a number of other YAF opportunities. In February, I attended my first YAF conference, the "Great Beginnings" seminar, at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California. I, along with a few dozen other young conservative activists, heard from leaders in the Conservative Movement, and had the opportunity to visit President Reagan's Rancho del Cielo. I learned new ways to recruit students, raise awareness of important issues, and gave me new tools to use in my role as chair of my own chapter. 

    Whether you're a high school or a college student, and regardless of your amount of experience in the Conservative Movement, Young America's Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom can help you make a difference in your community, give you incredible opportunities to meet heroes of the conservative movement, and become an important voice for conservatism on your campus and in your community.

    YAFreedomStrategySession

    Kathleen D'Urso, Texas Christian University: 

    Since becoming involved with the Young America's Foundation last year, I never could have imagined the amount of opportunities and privileges that would come my way.  After coming across the YAF website and seeing the important role the Foundation has in the Conservative Movement, I was immediately drawn to the many student opportunities.  I read about several peers who were making a difference on their campuses and in their communities, inspiring me to bring a YAF chapter to my campus at Texas Christian University.

    Starting a YAF chapter at my school has brought upon many career benefits, including internships and leadership scholarships.  However, while YAF has allowed me to immensely further my career goals in just one year, the greatest gain that has come from my time with YAF are the friendships and connections I have made, as well as the ability to engage with, and make a difference in my community.

    This past April, I had the privilege of attending the Club 100 Retreat, where I met leaders within the Foundation, Conservative Movement and fellow YAF chairmen.  From listening to and hanging out with speakers like Alex Marlow of Breitbart.com and Ann McElhinney, producer of the film FrackNation, to horseback riding in the California mountains with fellow chairmen and getting a personal tour of the Reagan Ranch, the opportunity to attend YAF conferences like Club 100 is an experience that I will never forget.  YAF holds many conferences throughout the year that are not only a blast to attend, but also are a great way to make lifelong connections and friendships.

    In addition to the many benefits that come along with attending conferences, getting involved with YAF has allowed me to interact with, and make a meaningful difference in my community.  My favorite YAF campus initiative is the 9/11 Never Forget Project.  Although our chapter was just starting out and had no funding, YAF went above and beyond to help us successfully execute the event.  Planting 2,977 flags on campus representing each person killed in the terrorist attacks brought awareness on campus and in the Dallas/Fort Worth area about the importance of remembering 9/11 in our history.  The local CBS affiliate and the Fort Worth Star Telegram covered the event.

    Although attending conferences and being a campus activist are certainly highlights of my time with YAF, the benefits do not end there.  Students who become involved with YAF will find that all the opportunities go far beyond what they could ever expect, and in ways that are unique to each person.  I hope to remain involved with YAF even after graduation and am excited for future students thinking about having a role in the Conservative Movement through YAF.

    YAFreedomStrategySessionHumveeKristopher Del Campo, DePaul University: 

    Being the founding chairman of a YAF chapter has been both an amazing experience and a blessing for me. From attending conferences put on by Young America's Foundation and exploring the Reagan Ranch, my devotion to the conservative movement has increased day by day.  Without YAF's help to promote conservative values to college students around the nation, many students wouldn't be afforded both sides of the ideological argument.  Young America's Foundation and the Reagan Ranch Center have help educate our nation's youth to bring the fight of conservatism to their high school and college campuses. 

    Anthony Hadford, University of Virginia: 

    Fighting for conservative principles can be difficult sometimes when you're the only one in the class fighting for it. I often felt that way before I established a Young Americans for Freedom chapter at my school and reached out to others to join me.

    Deep down I had a spark to fully speak my mind and share the true principles and values on which our founders had established this great nation. After receiving a package in the mail from YAF's national headquarters containing a large banner, some Reagan posters, and hundreds of pocket constitutions, that spark became a flame and I was eager to begin using all the resources possible to promote the ideals of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Then I received an email inviting me to visit Reagan's Rancho del Cielo in Santa Barbara, California. Touring the city of Santa Barbara, riding through the mountains in the back of a humvee, and dining at a local favorite fish restaurant were only a few activities during which I developed friendships with other chapter chairmen from around the country.

    Now I know that any fear or obstacle that challenges my passion to promote individual freedom, a strong national defense, free markets, and traditional values, will subside with the comfort of knowing that I have the Young America's Foundation to support me.

     Nick James, Clemson University: 

    While the primary purpose of chairing the Clemson University Young Americans for Freedom chapter is to promote conservative ideals on campus, the position has allowed me to do so much more.  As chairman, I have had the opportunity to learn many important attributes, including how to handle the media, crisis management, and organizational skills. Leading my YAF chapter has given me a different prospective of the college experience.  These 4 years are not just a chance to show those in academia that I can succeed. Leading my chapter has and continues to teach me valuable, real-world lessons that no lecture could ever begin to encompass.

    Grant Strobl, Grosse Pointe North High School: 

    Starting a high school chapter of Young Americans for Freedom expanded my network to fellow students across the country, provided leadership experience that is recognized by my community, and helped shape my career path. This experience that Young Americans for Freedom and Young America's Foundation provided me helped me land a job with a local congressional candidate, get appointed to a local municipal committee, get connections in local and state government, and receive a mayoral proclamation. Among the many activism and service projects that I have lead at my school include: the 9/11 Never Forget Project; the Respect All Women campaign, which was covered by Breitbart.com, Yahoo!, and the Daily Caller; Christmas celebration with Christmas trees placed throughout the school; fundraising for our troops; and bringing a bus-load of students to one of Young America's Foundation's regional conference. The experience, connections, opportunities, and skills that starting a chapter of Young Americans for Freedom provides are endless—start a YAF chapter today!

     

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