The spring semester is upon us, meaning it is a great time to start a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter at your school. I encourage you all to start a chapter. Believe it or not, it’s not hard to do, because YAF will help you every step of the way.

I advocate on behalf of Young America’s Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom for many reasons—my love of freedom, free speech, and free enterprise—but one of the least talked about benefits of being in YAF is the opportunity for personal development. Being involved in YAF has been an incredible experience for me. It has taught me many life skills that I know will positively impact my future and career. Here are just a few of the things I learned through being a YAF activist in high school.

YAF taught me how to speak my mind. Before getting involved on campus, I was nervous to stand up and give a counter-argument to administrators, teachers, and other students who were very opinionated. YAF gave me the confidence to do it by providing me with resources, knowledge, and facts about important issues through their conferences and care packages. YAF lectures also helped me learn how to respectfully have a conversation with someone who disagrees with me. Being informed, confident and civil are the tools I needed to be an effective voice for freedom on my campus.

I’ve also learned practical skills through my involvement in YAF. Keeping in touch with Headquarters in Reston is important for every chapter. It turns out that participating in YAF conference calls and learning to write emails to my club and to YAF leaders is pretty useful in the real world and sets me apart from many of my peers. I know many teenagers who cannot even talk to the pizza man over the phone, let alone converse professionally with their boss or coworkers. Learning to communicate professionally is definitely a valuable skill you will gain from participating in or leading a YAF chapter.

One of the ways YAF stands out is in how it prioritizes students. When YAF sees hard work and determination, they reward it. If your involvement at your school is a priority for you, YAF will prioritize YOU. Young America’s Foundation has various internship opportunities available, provides networking opportunities, and will do all they can to elevate and empower their students.

Lastly, YAF has provided me with a network of like-minded students from all different backgrounds. I’ve made connections all over the country and become close friends with so many students I met because of YAF. These young adults are the future of the Conservative Movement and some of my closest friends. YAF has provided me with a sense of fraternity with fellow conservatives I would have never met otherwise.

Young America’s Foundation has helped and guided me so much over the years and it has become a huge part of my high school experience, one that I will carry with me into college and beyond.

Good luck and feel free to reach out to me or YAF HQ with any questions.