If you are a freedom activist over the age of 40, don’t fall for the myth that the next generation of Americans is lost. I spent a weekend with some of them, and the future is bright.
Over the last several months, the GLA curriculum team has been working with partners at Generation Opportunity Institute and Young Americans for Liberty Foundation to create a “Mobilizer Bootcamp.”
The Bootcamp is designed to prepare young, liberty-minded Americans to organize and lead issue education campaigns in their local communities on topics such as free speech, corporate welfare, criminal justice reform and government pension reform.
Along with two of our other great GLA trainers, I was able to help facilitate our first Bootcamp earlier this month in Austin, Texas. We worked with the activists for three very full days, preparing them to plan and lead their issue education campaign when they arrived back home.
One of our core beliefs at GLA is that liberty-minded Americans must reclaim a language of positivity when sharing our beliefs with others. To open the Bootcamp, we decided to take back two wonderful words – “hope” and “change” – by asking each of the 30-some attendees what made them hopeful about the future of America, and what one change they thought was most sorely needed in our nation.
The students’ responses were encouraging. Activist after activist said they were hopeful freedom was on the march in their generation. They see a future in which the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are brought to the forefront again in American society, and they are preparing to lead that future.
Similarly, their calls for change were, to a person, calls for greater freedom and opportunity for all.
Later, we asked students to share their personal stories of why they care so much about expanding liberty. The young adults who shared their stories were not from privileged backgrounds. They were young people who had seen their parents work hard and struggle to achieve the American Dream. They shared stories of personal struggle that led them to believe in freedom.
The young people at the Bootcamp knew why they were fighting for more freedom in this nation. It was an honor to watch them work together during the weekend to plan for their future efforts.
We often hear in the media how “awful,” “lazy” or “self-centered” millennials can be. We hear young people prefer socialism to personal liberty. But these charges are an unfair over-generalization of the next generation and their beliefs. Some of the most persuasive and effective fighters for liberty I have met in my travels for GLA have been Americans under the age of 30.
If you’re an older activist, reach out to pro-liberty groups at your area’s colleges and universities. Offer opportunities for people under 30 to get involved in your efforts and give them opportunities not just to follow but to lead. You’ll be surprised with the results
Ronald Reagan famously said that freedom is always one generation from extinction. At GLA, we remain dedicated to seeking out the members of American’s younger generations who are engaging in the fight for a free and open society, and equipping them with the tools they need to improve their ability to engage in that fight.
If you’re interested in getting the same kind of expert grassroots training these young adults received, check out the upcoming trainings near you!