This article was sponsored by Young America’s Foundation.
Young America’s Foundation launched an initiative this week called “The Long Game” aimed at winning the battle for the hearts of our nation’s youth.
The purpose of The Long Game’s 12-point plan is to instill in them the ideals of individual liberty and free enterprise as well as the founding principles and values that made the United States great.
“As [President Ronald] Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,'” former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told The Western Journal. “It doesn’t just get passed on to you through the bloodstream. You got to stand up and fight for it and defend it and pass it on to the next generation to do exactly the same thing.”
Walker, who became YAF president last month, knows what it’s like to face a fight in the political arena, which makes him well-suited to engage in the current battle over the nation’s future.
The Republican was elected governor in 2010 and soon thereafter faced the wrath of government employee unions when he backed legislation to address the state’s budget deficit, in part, by requiring employees to make contributions to their health care and pension plans.
Employees occupied the state Capitol in protest in 2011 and a year later backed an effort to recall Walker, who became the only governor in U.S. history to win a recall election. He was then re-elected in 2014.
The organization he now leads, YAF, was founded in the late 1960s. It is the nation’s largest conservative youth outreach organization.
The group is perhaps best known for bringing conservative speakers such as radio talk show host Ben Shapiro, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich and filmmaker and bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza to college campuses.
YAF also hosts conferences and other events at its Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California, as well as the late President Reagan’s ranch itself (Rancho del Cielo) north of the city and other venues around the country.
“What we’re doing, we do well,” Walker said. “But as I come in now here just a few weeks in, I realized what we’re doing is not enough, not because we’re not well-intentioned but because the left is so overwhelming us.”
Hence, The Long Game.
At the top of the agenda is sponsoring 1 million new participants to attend YAF programs.
Walker pointed to Pavlich as an example of the impact attending one of the group’s programs can have.
In 2008, she went to one at the Reagan Ranch and saw a presentation by conservative new media icon Andrew Breitbart.
“Young America’s Foundation changed my life. I was one of those … kids who had no idea what I should have been studying or what field I should have gone into until I went to my first YAF conference. … I immediately knew I wanted to do something that made a difference,” Pavlich recalled.
“We need more people like Katie Pavlich in the world, and those are yet to be known,” Walker said.
The Long Game also sets a goal of having chapters on every college campus.
“We have a presence supporting students on more than 2,000 campuses,” Walker said. “That’s great, but I realized, ‘Hey, there’s 4,000-plus campuses in this nation. We need to be on all of them.'”
YAF also wants to expand its campus lecture program and bring speakers to all 50 states.
Further, the group plans to grow its online presence, which is already impressive.
YAF’s YouTube channel has close to a half-million subscribers. Walker wants to see that grow to 5 million, with 1 billion views.
He also believes YAF must expand its reach in high schools and connect with preteens in middle school.
“I was 12 years old in 1980 when Ronald Reagan first ran for president. I can’t tell you how impactful his being in office was on me, not only as a conservative but as an optimist,” Walker recounted.
“We need to have that same type of impact on preteens. It’s not enough just for college. It’s not enough just in high school.”
“We’ve seen time and time again examples with The 1619 Project and with many of these Marxist programs where they’re trying to get even in the earliest stages of a K through 12 experience,” Walker said.
YAF plans to develop materials targeted at middle school and even elementary school children that reinforce the nation’s founding principles and Judeo-Christian values that educators and parents can use to teach what has made the U.S. an exceptional nation.
“If we want to continue to be able to hand on a great country filled with freedom and opportunity for everyone on to future generations, we’ve got to stand up and fight for it,” Walker said.
Learn more about The Long Game initiative and support it here.
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