Many young Americans find themselves ill-equipped, under-supported, and facing intimidation when simply attempting to express their personal opinions and live accordingly. Fortunately, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, now president of the Young America’s Foundation, has a plan to help.
By offering greater support, encouragement, and resources to open-minded students throughout the country, Walker’s 12-point action plan, dubbed “the Long Game,” aims to loosen the left’s stranglehold on institutions and fight back against the pervasive damage caused by “cancel culture.“
“The Long Game is the way we win not only the battle but also the war. It’s investing in our children’s children," said Walker in press release. "This plan will help ensure future generations of Americans pass on the same love of country and freedom which our parents and our grandparents shared with you and me.”
YAF is “the nation’s largest and most effective conservative youth outreach organization“ with chapters on college campuses across the country, about 2,000 in total. In February, Walker assumed the organization's top position and brought with him “ambitious goals.”
Now, just two month into his tenure, the Wisconsinite has a plan in place to further expand YAF’s already substantial influence.
Through both virtual and in-person interactions, the Long Game aims to expose a record number of students to Ronald Reagan, America’s foundational principals, and Judeo-Christian values. In doing so, it will host a record number of student programs nationwide, sponsor over 1 million new program participants, and expand to over 4,000 college campuses.
In an interview with Townhall, the experienced politician weaved through the 12-points of the Long Game, commenting of his own upbringing and offering his analysis of the challenges facing today’s children, teens, and young adults.
Walker spoke fondly of then Presidential Candidate Reagan, saying, “Ronald Reagan was a clear optimist. He talked about the shining city on the hill. He talked about things that were very uniting.”
Like Walker, YAF continues to find the conservative icon and his principles immensely valuable; the organization preserves two of Reagan's properties, his boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois, and the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbra, California.
Both properties are monuments to Reagan’s humble nature, and each offers the opportunity for student engagement through tours, conferences, and seminars.
“We bring [students] to the Ranch, or now to the boyhood home not so much just to learn about our president, although that's interesting in its own right, but to learn about the values that he believed and that he fought for his entire public life,” says Walker.
In an effort to further spread conservative values such as “free speech,” the action plan aims to develop programs for middle school-aged audiences, aiming also to develop a digital reference app to aid students of all ages in defending their beliefs.
Walker explains, "young people overwhelmingly… get their information on social media, from YouTube more than any other source. It's dramatically high. And the good news is that means they're hungry for content, not just flashy memes.”
He's is attempting to provide substantial food for their intellectual hunger, aiming to increase YAF’s social media footprint to “5 million subscribers and 1 billion… views.”
Walker believes “there are a lot more people, particularly young people on college campuses, and even in schools across America, who share [conservative] views or at least major portions of them, they're just intimidated from speaking out because the left is so aggressive.”
Accordingly, the Long Game aims to expand YAF’s premier campus lecture program and bring a YAF speaker to all 50 states. Walker posits exposing students, virtually or in person, to speakers like Ben Shapiro, Katie Pavlich, and Michael Knowles provides a new generation of leaders with examples and arguments to better defend their own individually held beliefs.
Other goals of Walker’s Long Game include holding a record number of schools accountable for free speech violations and creating a support network for free-thinking educators who feel intimidated and fear backlash for speaking up in their institutions.
The Long Game, says Walker, “is about not only supporting conservatives, but just teachers, educators and professors who want to be objective… Not only are they trying to silence students, but you see the same cancel culture applying to anyone who doesn't completely double down on their far left radical doctrine.”
Walker speaks of the need for active engagement, saying, “This isn't some initiative. This really is an action plan and the key to our success is getting people excited about that and engaged, whether they're students or supporters or others. We need people to step up and help us in this battle.”
The final focus of Walker’s 12-point plan is to continue the training of proactive and truth-seeking journalists through YAF’s National Journalism Center (NJC). In full transparency, this reporter is currently an active fellow in the NJC fellowship.
Rounding up his thoughts, the newly minted YAF president stressed the seriousness of the challenges facing our country and the importance of engaging a new generation with the humble and liberty-preserving ideas of Ronald Reagan, free speech, and individual responsibility.
“Those on the left believe in socialism, which means more government, and we think there's a stark contrast," Walker concludes. "The only way they prevail is if they pit enough groups of people against each other to create chaos there, the way we prevail, is by, again, putting our faith and our trust in the American people and the more we tell that story. I think people see that's an optimistic story.”