This blog post was written by YAF Alumna Lauren Scirocco.
I attended my first Young America’s Foundation conference in the summer of 2008, and it changed the course of my life. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career and no idea what I wanted to study in school. The only thing I did know is that I was a conservative. So, after reading an advertisement in National Review Magazine for a National Conservative Student Conference, I decided to give it a shot.
Not only did I hear from incredible speakers such as Bob Novak, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, and economist, Walter Williams, I made lasting friendships and connections that have shaped my life. Attending the YAF conference paved the way for countless opportunities for me. In the fall of 2008, the Foundation helped me host Governor George Allen at my school. In the spring of 2010, YAF, along with the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, helped me to bring Ann Coulter to campus. I met conservative leaders such as Mitt Romney and Karl Rove. I had dinner with Congressman Tom Tancredo and columnist Jonah Goldberg. I visited Ronald Reagan’s ranch in Santa Barbara, California. As an intern with Young America’s Foundation’s, National Journalism Center, I was placed at the Sean Hannity Radio show. This internship led to another internship where I worked for the Mark Levin Show. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless if one decides to become involved with Young America’s Foundation.
To me, the most important aspect of being involved with Young America’s Foundation is not the friendships formed or even the chances to meet the country’s top conservative leaders (which I do greatly appreciate), but the opportunity to be involved in a movement greater than myself. Now more than ever, our country needs leaders with character, dignity, and strong conservative principles. It seems as though every day, we receive more unsettling news about the state of our nation and our ever-expanding deficit. What better place to gain the knowledge and momentum needed to take back our country, than at the National Conservative Student Conference? I recently attended a Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute event where Congresswoman Michele Bachmann informed us that within the past 18 months, the U.S. government has gained control of 51 percent of the private economy. That’s right. It did not take decades or years; it took just mere months for our private industry to be hijacked by the Obama Administration. (Let’s just keep in mind that the definition of socialism is “a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state”). As if these statistics aren’t frightening enough, the Heritage Foundation’s 2010 Index of Economic Freedom found that the U.S. experienced the greatest decline in economic freedom among the world's top 20 economies. Instead of being labeled a truly “free” country, our economy is now considered "mostly free" - the same labeling for countries such as Georgia, Botswana and Lithuania.
The prosperity of the country rests in our hands. We need to be engaged and involved at all levels of government in order to ensure that we can maintain the freedoms that our parents and grandparents enjoyed. As a young person, I cannot think of a better way to become informed and involved in the Conservative Movement, than to attend the National Conservative Student Conference. While the conference lasts only five days, the abundance of information and connections you take away with you can last a lifetime—and perhaps even change the future of this country.