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  • KatieJonesThe first time I heard about Young America's Foundation was at a meeting on Capitol Hill during my internship there in the summer of 2013. Little did I know that the organization would become a huge part of my life a few months later.

    In August of 2013, a friend and I decided to start a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter at our school, the University of Arizona, which is a large public university known as a party school in an extremely liberal setting. From day one, it has been a challenge, but only in the best way that I could have imagined. Through YAF, we have been able to engage our campus in ways that others have not been able to before.

    Our first YAF event was the 9/11: Never Forget Project, which was a huge success. We continued to grow our chapter and were excited to have a consistent group of students attending meetings each week. We traveled to the Ronald Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, California and began to bond with our members. Soon, YAF became more of a community than a club. Slowly, our chapter and cause began to gain momentum. We were able to send seven students to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.; host University of Arizona alum Katie Pavlich as our first speaker; organize events with other campus clubs; and secure internships. Not to mention, we now have four to five times the number of members coming to our meetings each week than we had at the beginning. The uncertainty that I had about starting our chapter is now gone and has been replaced with the roaring success of our ability to make a difference on our campus, our community, our state, our country, and most importantly, the lives of others.

    For myself, my chapter's executive board and members, and our campus, YAF has provided opportunities and insights that are unparalleled by any other organization. In just one year, our chapter has come a long way. Starting with just a few friends and very little funding, we have become a large, confident club that continues to build on our own passion for conservative ideas as well bring others into the Movement. Without the support and encouragement of everyone at Young America's Foundation, none of this would have been possible. Becoming a part of YAF is one of the biggest blessings and privileges that I have had; it has been rewarding in both my personal and professional lives. I would encourage other students to pursue the challenge of starting their own YAF chapter or getting involved with an existing one, and become part of the Conservative Movement because it is up to us young people to forge the direction of our country and preserve it for future generations. We are the best hope in securing the blessing of liberty!

    Written by Katie Jones, Chairwoman of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Arizona

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