My #YALCon13 Experience

When my flight landed in Arlington, I was a fish out of water with no idea what to expect for the week. I’ve always been comfortable with explaining and sharing the intellectual nuances of libertarianism, but attending a political convention? I’d never been to anything like it.

But I dove into YAL’s 2013 National Convention head first and immediately realized that had I chosen to pass up the opportunity, I’d have missed out on the experience of a lifetime. After four days of intensive and thoroughly enjoyable student activism training, I’ve learned more than enough to transform my YAL chapter at the University of North Georgia from a relatively inactive one to one that makes a difference on campus and beyond.

I’m confident that in a year, after we’ve met all of our goals, I’ll look back and know that it would have been nearly impossible without the knowledge gained at YAL’s Convention. From tabling and recruitment guidelines to activism tips and ideas to information regarding campaigns and politics and so much more, it was impossible to leave without being infinitely better equipped to do what we all strive to: spread liberty in the right way.

But it isn’t just the knowledge gained that made the experience so wonderful, it was the atmosphere and the people. With everyone so kind, like-minded, and eager to act for liberty, it was hard to not have it rub off on me. So often it can be frustrating trying to discuss liberty with individuals who have only ever had a flawed education provided by statist institutions. It’s truly relieving to be surrounded by so many who “get it.”

Of course, YAL’s Convention can’t be discussed without mention of the many truly fantastic speakers. The clear highlight was, of course, the man who ignited this movement: Ron Paul. Seeing and meeting him was something I’d always hoped to get an opportunity to do, and this event provided it. Yet, this isn’t to detract from the many other speakers as they were all incredibly informative and inspiring. Each speaker brought a different tone, message, and style of delivery which kept the talks interesting and engaging. It was an all-star lineup and too many lessons to list were learned throughout the week.

However, if by some curse of nature I was only permitted to retain one lesson from YAL’s Convention, it would be that the opportunities to join the liberty movement are endless. For anyone who is dedicated and, as cliché as it may be, willing to work hard, there is a spot somewhere with some organization. Whether it be with think tanks, campaigns, non profits, or anything else, any of us can spread liberty if we just go for it.

One of us could be the next Thomas Clarkson, and fight to end any form of modern slavery that exists throughout the world. One of us could be the next Ron Paul, and inspire an entire movement by sticking to principles and standing up to tyrants. One of us could be the Jeff Frazee, and mobilize future generations to make a difference with the power of ideas.

All of us could change the world. Will you?

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