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Sixty students from over 35 schools and over 20 states are now more prepared than ever to advance liberty on their campus. Skilled political professionals instilled in these young attendees the organizational, campaign, and activism techniques to substantially impact their communities and beyond. Young leaders were eager, enthusiastic, and excited to learn what it takes to “win on principle,” and this invaluable weekend would not have been possible without your generous support. I wrote the following to report the results from your personal investment in this vital cause. Our republic faces hard times, but a new generation of patriots now has the knowledge they need to continue our struggle for liberty. Thank you for enabling us to provide this experience.
Thank you from all attendees, speakers, and YAL staff.
Young Americans for Liberty’s Inaugural National Convention began with an inspirational and educational series of speeches on Thursday night. Congressman Ron Paul, the man who most inspires these students, reminded the audience of the historical significance of our project. He reminded us all to maintain our optimism and good humor in the face of the longest odds. Before Dr. Paul, students heard from U.S. Congressional candidate Adam Kokesh, Dr. Ivan Eland – Director of the Independent Institute’s Center for Peace and Liberty, and others. Students and guests met Dr. Paul, networked with one another, and connected with the YAL staff members.
The first full day of intense political training started promptly at 8:30 AM with attendees still energized from Thursday’s welcome reception. Friday focused on the nuts and bolts of organizing YAL chapters and establishing a plan for sustained success. Students learned how to make their YAL chapter a political powerhouse.
Students heard from YAL staff, professional organizers from the Leadership Institute, Adam Kokesh, and Matt Holdridge – Director of Marketing for the Campaign for Liberty. Below is a sampling of the lectures: Build your YAL chapter – Chapter Plan Overview Membership recruitment How to host a successful event Taking useful pictures and video Literature layout and design Leadership development Activism ideas to influence your campus’ culture
Students came prepared to learn and eagerly asked questions. Their dedication and desire to learn were clearly evident and made the weekend successful.
Ryan Hile, Amber Worthington, and John Cochran ready to learn!
Hands-on activism training.
After Friday afternoon’s lectures, attendees prepared to venture across the Potomac into Washington, DC to demonstrate. Students put the theory of the classroom into practice at our nation’s capital. Attendees developed and executed their own plans to petition against government-run health care. Each group created their own signs and flyers and crafted their own strategies to collect signatures. Their readiness to fight for our freedoms was evident, and the excitement surrounding the exercise was immediately visible.
Austin Brenneman, Michael Lei, and Jared Fuller hard at work preparing for Saturday.
Attendees arrived ready to share our message of limited government with the countless sightseers on the National Mall. They split up into groups, obtained their signs and flyers from the previous evening, and received a few final instructions before heading downtown. Each group consisted of approximately ten students. As they descended on the capital, the response was tremendous – over 800 signatures were collected in slightly more than two hours. The top group gathered 250 petition signers.
14-year-old Devon Minnema putting his training to work.
Ryan Shucard rallies support from his petitioners
Once back at the Convention, lecturers taught YAL members to generate media coverage, develop relationships with their local reporters, and write effective press releases. Most attendees had little or no prior experience with media relations, but they now understand the importance of cultivating contacts throughout the media to increase the influence and reach of their message.
On the final day, lecturers trained conventioneers to convert our philosophy into political victories. Our movement has had success communicating the ideals and principles of liberty, but politicians who truly represent those values are few and far between. This can only change if the next generation learns how to win elections and control the climate in which our elected officials operate. Renowned campaign professionals taught students to develop and organize a campaign for pro-liberty candidates. Speakers included: John Tate – President, Campaign for Liberty Mike Rothfeld – President, SABER Communications Dimitri Kesari – Director of Government Affairs, National Right to Work
Students were taught how to: Develop a campaign message and strategy for victory Build a successful campaign structure Identify, target, and turn out voters Raise money and write effective direct mail letters
YAL chapter presidents and members learn how to convert our shared ideals into electoral victories
Student feedback from these lectures were positive, including comments such as “I learned more on Sunday than I did in 3 years of college.”
The results of this convention could not have been better. These 60 individuals with their enthusiasm have renewed and heightened our passion for spreading the message of limited government across the nation. We know each of them is now better educated and more eager to further the advancement of liberty. These students are ready to restore our country and bring the true intent of the Constitution to the forefront of the political discussion. Many of these students are at the beginning of a great adventure which will take them through oppression and ridicule. But our ideas and message are too great to leave us discouraged. This convention has helped each of these students start that journey and prepare them for the difficulties that lie ahead. You and I share a commitment to the principles of liberty and are willing to put in countless hours and substantial resources to making that dream become a reality. In short, this convention simply could not have happened without your generous support. Young Americans for Liberty is continually committed to using our resources to their fullest potential. We are committed to discovering the most industrious and powerful ways of spreading our message across the country to reach the hearts and minds of young people on every campus. This convention was one such way of spreading that message. It has lit a brushfire that will spread from one individual to the next, and it will be difficult for oppressors to extinguish that flame. Again, our staff, members, convention attendees, and I cannot thank you enough for the gracious support you have given. You truly make all of this a reality. In liberty,
Jeff Frazee Executive Director, YAL
Ron Paul mingles with YAL members at Thursday night's reception
Attentive student listens to Ron Paul's message
YAL member Dustin Reid asks Ron Paul how to stop government's takeover of health care
Students meet and pose for pictures with Ron Paul
Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute, discusses his book, Recarving Mount Rushmore
Jeff Frazee, Executive Director of YAL, addresses the crowd and introduces featured guests
Ryan Hile (left) and Aaron Ricks listen attentively
Amber Worthington (left) and Jaime Fuller focus on the speakers
Jared Fuller (middle) sharing his ideas for Saturday’s activism training
Several students discuss their preparations for the Saturday activism event
Students get a picture of passersby in a demonstration against government-run health care at the National Mall
Jacqueline Silseth (left) and Vladimir Rudenko (middle) get a passerby to sign a petition against government-run health care
Students brainstorm and prepare for Saturday’s activism exercise
Dustin Reid demonstrates against government-run health care at the National Mall
Mrs. Minnema gives a spur-of-themoment lecture on press releases.
YAL volunteer Amy Mandler (right) provides talking points against socialized medicine with YAL's Director of Events, Trevor Leach
Adam Kokesh shares his experiences with Iraq Veterans Against the War and other activism projects
John Tate, President of Campaign for Liberty, teaches students to effectively organize a political campaign
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