Support the troops. End the wars.

Protest the endless and unnecessary wars which have cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. Despite years of efforts to remove dictators and nation build,  U.S. military intervention leaves foreign countries less safe and less secure than they were before. This activism event will highlight the tremendous cost of war from both a financial and human perspective.

On the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq (March 20th, 2018), hundreds of YAL chapters nationwide will be hosting our Bring Them Home activism event to educate students on the necessity of a sober foreign policy.

How you can participate in Bring Them Home

YAL has created a brand new, on-campus experience for you to create on your campus that will get attention, educate students, and increase your membership.

YAL chapters will participate in Bring Them Home by first creating a “military checkpoint” on campus where you will place your recruitment table or clip boarders to approach students as they walk by.

As students walk by, you will approach them and inform them that they have been “drafted,” and that they have to determine where they will be placed around the globe.

You will invite them to spin your Conflict Spin Wheel which will land on a country the U.S. is engaged in. Once they land on a country, you will find it on your Intervention Facts Sheet and share with them the results of U.S. involvement and the costs of intervention.

You will explain that YAL supports the military but does not support unconstitutional, costly, and unproductive wars abroad. It’s time to support the troops by ending the wars.

After your brief, educational conversation, you will hand them a draft card with your meeting time and location on it and sign them up on your draft sign-up sheet.

At your follow up meeting, tune one of YAL National’s Facebook Live Streams or educate students with a pre-made Bring Them Home powerpoint presentation or a game of Bring Them Home Jeopardy!

Take your Bring Them Home event to the next level by working with YAL National to get connected with veteran organizations that you can do a service project with!

We are excited for you to join us for our fun new activism event, you can request your free resources here.

YAL has developed an engaging and fun new way to talk foreign policy on campus.

Below are some tips on how to host #BringThemHome, get ahead by applying for free resources here.

  1. Reach out to YAL’s Leadership Team for support: YAL’s Leadership Team is your number-one tool for success. Find a YAL leader near you who can help you execute your activism event. Your Regional Director and the State Chairs in your area are your best resource for learning how to organize an effective activism event. If either position has not yet been filled, learn more and apply to join the Leadership Team here.
  2. Apply for resources: YAL is offering FREE resources and recommendations to every participating YAL chapter:

To help you get attention and maximize your impact on campus, YAL is offering brand new resources for your Bring Them Home event. YAL’s Bring Them Home Kit is packed with materials including…

  • Military check point signs for your recruitment station
  • An interactive Conflict Spin Wheel that students will spin to land on a country to learn more about America’s involvement there
  • Camouflage bandanas to wear while recruiting
  • Bring Them Home signs
  • Bring Them Home palm cards for you to use to illustrate the cycle of intervention
  • Bring Them Home stickers
  • Newly updated YAL pocket Constitutions
  • Books, magazines, and pamphlets
  • Sidewalk chalk, sign-up sheets with clipboards and custom YAL pens
  • Make Liberty Win Buttons
  • Bottle openers, and other swag for your members
  • And much more! The box is packed!

3. Always recruit for liberty: With every activism event you do, you should recruit new members. We’re including several copies of YAL’s Bring Them Home sign-up sheets for you to sign up interested students. When your event is over, add your new sign ups to your chapter page and submit your sign ups to your Regional Director.

4. Make your plans: Meet up with your chapter members and plan the dates and details for your activism event. Take some time to brainstorm and put your ideas on paper. After a productive meeting, you should walk away with a clear and executable plan with specific tasks assigned to your members.

Ask yourselves some basic questions: What do you want to do? Who is going to do what? When are you going to do it? How much preparation time is needed? When are you going to meet again to prepare?

For each Bring Them Home event, there are two major components:

  1. An on-campus recruitment exercise, including a visual display and interactive activity, to recruit new members and promote your upcoming Bring Them Home educational meeting.
  2. A large chapter meeting to educate all attendees and discuss noninterventionist foreign policy. This could be tuning into a YAL National Facebook Livestream, hosting your own speaker, using YAL’s Bring Them Home PowerPoint presentation, playing a game of YAL’s Bring Them Home Jeopardy, viewing a documentary on foreign policy, or even hosting a guided discussion.

Reserve a high-traffic area to table on campus once you have picked your dates for execution. As a recognized student organization, it should be as simple as contacting your student affairs office and jumping through the necessary hoops to receive permission to table.

If your YAL chapter is not yet officially recognized by your university and it won’t let you reserve tabling space, don’t fear. Get creative, and always remember that the table doesn’t get recruits: you do. Just using a clipboard works just as well.

If your campus gives you any trouble and tries to relegate your activism to a “free speech zone,” please contact us so we can help you defeat these unconstitutional regulations.

Reserve a classroom for your livestream viewing, follow-up discussion, or other Bring Them Home themed event.

Pro tip: Always reserve rooms that are only big enough to accommodate 75% of the amount of people you expect to show up. It is better for everyone to think that your event ended up having standing room only when you host it in a smaller room rather than think that hardly anyone showed up when you host it in a large auditorium.

We strongly suggest that you walk through the room before the event, so you understand how the equipment works and how to set up the room properly.

Always keep in mind the three most important goals for any activism project:

  1. Recruit new members
  2. Educate your classmates
  3. Earn media attention

Now that you’ve finished preparing for your event, go to step two: Execution!

 

Here are some action items you can take right now to prepare and execute a successful Bring Them Home event.

  • Advertise for your event. Saturate your campus with flyers, posters, and chalk notices. Make your message unmissable.
  • Get professors on your side. Many professors and department heads (especially in political science and other social sciences) will be excited to learn that you’re hosting a foreign policy-focused event, even if they don’t share your non-interventionist perspective. Ask them to help you out by allowing you to announce the event in class or assign extra credit to their classes for students who attend your follow-up event.

Executing your recruitment effort

  • Using your YAL Bring Them Home kit, set up your “Military Checkpoint” signs along the sidewalk where you intend to table or clipboard 15 minutes before kickoff.
  • Set up your “Conflict Spin Wheel” and invite student passerby’s to spin the wheel.
  • Once the spin wheel lands on a country, reference your “Intervention Facts Sheet” to educate them on what the U.S. has done in that country relative and what the financial and human costs were.
  • Once the student is excited about learning more about U.S. foreign policy, get them to sign up! Make sure to get their full contact info (email AND phone number) and confirm that it is written legibly.
  • Fill in the date, time and location of your meeting on your YAL “Draft Card” so they can reference it as a reminder to attend your meeting (your meeting should be pre-scheduled for either that same night or the following evening).
Maximize complete sign ups – it is the only way to get people to your meeting and to ultimately become lasting members of your YAL chapter!
Now that you’ve executed a fantastic recruitment effort, it’s time to maximize turnout for your follow-up meeting so that you can educate your new attendees and get them to become lasting members.
Follow-up event — Plan ahead of time what your follow-up event will be. Some ideas to consider:
  • Host a speaker. Bringing speakers to your campus, if done properly, can attract large numbers of students and increase interest in your chapter. For this event, you’ll want to host a noninterventionist foreign policy expert, like Ivan Eland, Bruce Fein, Glenn Greenwald, or even a principled professor from your campus. You can reach out to your Regional Director to get assistance in being connected with a high caliber speaker. You may also find a good speaker by working with a veterans organization. Many of the fiercest opponents of unconstitutional wars in America are those who have experienced such wars firsthand: our veterans. Your school may have a veterans group right on campus, or you can get in touch with Veterans for Peace to find a VFP chapter in your area!
  • Screen a movie. Want to educate students on the costs of war? A movie screening may be the way to go. Find a documentary or even a feature film which raises serious questions about war. Depending on the movie you select, you may wish to hold a brief discussion session afterwards to ensure that the message got through.
  • Organize a debate. Instead of hosting just one speaker, consider having three or more! Organize a debate on campus between those who support and oppose war or base the debate on another aspect of foreign policy.

Follow Up or Fail

Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don’t execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have. It’s vital that you call every sign up that you spoke with at your table, and ask them if they can come to your follow-up meeting. Students are far more likely to come to your meeting if they verbally commit to doing so. As a last reminder, send a text to each sign up the day before your meeting.

Follow up in multiple ways

Don’t rely on email follow ups: no one reads them besides the government. Be sure to give each interested student a personal phone call and ask them if they can come to your next meeting. Remember, students are more likely to follow through with something that they verbally commit to do.

After you’ve called everyone, send a follow up text the day of your event to round up any stragglers who wouldn’t show up otherwise. Try something like this:

“Hey [name], this is [name] from YAL. Thanks for stopping by our table today! We’re getting ready for our follow-up meeting and social in [location] right now. Can you make it tonight at [time]?”

Email will only serve as a good reminder to those whom you’ve already reached by phone, text, and social media.
Engage

At the meeting, begin by introducing YAL and explain how to get involved in your chapter. Next, screen your film or give your speaker the floor. After the meeting, offer an opportunity to socialize by going out for pizza, drinks, or whatever works best for your chapter to discuss the meeting and the ideas of liberty.

Conduct follow ups consistently even after students have come to their first YAL meeting. Consistent communication with students is the only way to ensure that they establish lasting friendships within your chapter, and therefore, stay involved after their first exposure to YAL.

Add all of your new sign ups to your chapter page so that they can confirm their membership.

Do a service event

If you want to take your Bring Them Home event to the next level, consider connecting with your Regional Director about ways you can give back to veterans in your community.

Each city has several veterans organizations that you can get involved with by organizing a canned food drive, a supply drive, or by assembling care packages.

Your events and activities on campus can reach a much larger audience than just the students you interacted with directly. But sharing your successes is only possible if you properly document everything you do. Take pictures and record everything . You can always cut some footage later, but you can never add more.

After completing your event on campus, we want to hear about it! Write a short, but comprehensive summary of your Bring Them Home event for YAL’s national blog. Everyone who is listed as a chapter officer on your chapter page of the YAL website already has blogging permissions, so it’s easy to share all the details, photos, and video footage with your fellow YAL activists!
  • Have detailed reports: Post all your pictures, give us all the details, and share with us how students reacted to your recruitment efforts.
  • Include your best pictures and video: Take as many photos as you can including action shots and group photos. Aim for at least 5 awesome pictures in your report. Include short videos (about 3-4 minutes). Make them upbeat, and mix in some music. Post your video to YouTube and embed the video in your chapter report.
  • Include how many recruits you got: A primary goal of every activism event is to recruit new members into your YAL chapter. Share in your blog post how many sign-ups you got, how many participants you had in your event, and how many students you engaged overall.
  • Include all of your earned media: Chapters that earn media attention reach a much wider audience and greater respect on campus. Include links to all of your media coverage in your report.

Earn Media Attention for your Event

Expand the reach of your activism event by earning media for your chapter’s event. Earning media, especially by your campus’s newspaper, can be surprisingly easy. Contact YAL National so that we can have our Communications Department help earn you quality media for your event.

Once your chapter has conducted a successful Bring Them Home event, it will pay to have a social to bring everyone together, celebrate your hard work, and provide an opportunity for your new recruits to feel welcomed into the group.

After your follow-up meeting, consider hosting a social. You can go out to a local pizza pub, a nearby bar, or do something more creative like go to one of your school’s football games together.

People may first become interested in your YAL chapter because of the ideas of liberty, but no one will stay as a member unless your chapter proves to be a source of camaraderie and friendship for them.

Use this momentum for your next activism project!

Through conducting a successful Bring Them Home event, you won’t convince everyone to join your chapter, but you’ll see your membership grow quickly. You’ll be thankful you put in the effort when you have a record-setting turnout at your next chapter meeting!

Remember, every event you do on campus should be used as a launching pad for your next big project so don’t let your momentum end with this event! Use this energy to mobilize for your next big activism project.

Contact your Regional Director with any questions you have!