If it wasn’t snowpocalypses shutting down schools and the entire city of Atlanta, it was pouring rain or freezing weather — spring semester in Georgia has been brutal. Thankfully, the sun and warm weather found its way back in the latter part of April and YAL at KSU took advantage.
First stop, the local Office Max: The Debt Pong labels were printed out on sticker paper; I got the Nolan chart laminated; and other miscellaneous supplies were purchased for the event.
That same night, the Southeast’s favorite Leadership Institute Regional Coordinator, Shane McGonigal, gave me a surprise phone call and told me he’d be joining me on KSU’s campus for the event! The following morning, my car was packed with a myriad of great literature, flyers, and the War on Youth event supplies.
Now, I took a slightly different approach to the YAL-suggested directions on how to handle the game. Given that Debt Pong is a rather new outdoor-game, some people weren’t really use to it, and understood much less that it’s actually a little tricky to make it in a bucket. So rather than make it impossible to make it by swatting the ball with a giant Obama fathead, I jimmied up a little stand and put into the ground in front of the Debt Pong set up to block the buckets — it still got the point across, and it made the game a little more inviting.
The setup was rather perfect. The banner was ginormous, and it was impossible not to notice it and provoke some sort of conversation. The Debt Pong setup captured the interest that the banner provoked and encouraged students to participate in the game, thus learning what the War on Youth was all about.
I’m always surprised by the receptiveness that I get on college campuses. Students absolutely love to see fellow students addressing the worries that we all have on our minds, and materialize that worry into a physical in-your-face event. Of course, there will always be the government-apologists that want to pick a fight, but I’ve learned that the Ron Paul approach of killing with kindness and being respectful in your objections will always get your message heard by everyone.
YAL at KSU received 30 new sign-ups (which I consider a lot given that it was the week before finals and this event occurred during a later part of the day). Even more successful still, I was able to change the minds of two individuals on campus that challenged the position that the event took.
As I approach my fifth and last year of my undergrad, I look forward to continue doing events like these with this chapter. However, the challenge ahead is the most difficult — finding young leaders to take the torch and expand the chapter when I leave. I will be fortunate enough to (hopefully) attend a YAL National Convention before next semester starts, thanks to the generosity of our freedom-loving donors, and acquire the knowledge and the skills to make this expansion of this YAL chapter a reality.Published in