Young Americans for Freedom gather to celebrate late president Ronald Reagan’s legacy and 109th birthday

In Tampico, Illinois, on Feb. 6, 1911, a young Nelle Clyde Reagan gave birth to a future U.S. president. 

One hundred nine years later, members of Liberty’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) gathered for their first meeting of the semester after resurrecting the club this year to celebrate President Ronald Reagan’s birthday. 

YAF is under the umbrella of the Young America’s Foundation and serves as the extension of that foundation on Liberty’s campus. The club gathered on a rainy evening to discuss their values and beliefs as politically conservative college students, but the primary purpose of the meeting was to honor the legacy of a conservative champion.
Ronald Reagan.  

Club president Meredith Minto opened the meeting by explaining the history and mission behind the Young America’s Foundation and the Young Americans for Freedom club. All who attended the meeting were encouraged to ignite discussion for the conservative movement. 

In her opening presentation, Minto explained why the club made the decision to celebrate Reagan’s birthday. During his time as a political figure and leader in the 1980s, Reagan backed the Young Americas Foundation openly and steadfastly. Liberty’s Young Americans club wanted to celebrate him as a way of thanking him for his support.

Later, Minto elaborated on the importance of Ronald Reagan to club members. 

“A lot of YAF’s ideals come from Reagan’s ideals,” she said. “So YAF was really built on him.”  

Reagan was the force that moved the conservative movement, including YAF, to stand for what they do. 

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SUPPORT— President Reagan encouraged and promoted Young Americans for Freedom in the 1980s.

“He funded (the Young America’s Foundation), (and) he obviously stood for all the principles that YAF stands for now, so it kind of transitioned from Reagan into YAF’s main constitution.” 

Not only did Reagan embody many of the political ideals that members of the Young Americans for Freedom club stand for, he also possessed a character that still inspires young conservatives today. Minto said she looks up to him and gave insight as to why the club wanted to commemorate him. 

“I think that Reagan was just, like, the coolest guy,” she said. “I mean, he was super down to earth, he was a family guy, but at the same time he had such a big personality.”

Minto remarked on the parallels between Reagan and President Donald Trump. 

“He was a former TV and radio star, and then he turned to politics, which is kind of like a Trump …,” she said. 

On a table at the front of the room, a red, white and blue sheet cake displayed the words “Happy Birthday Ronnie!” Club members were invited to grab a slice of birthday cake after Minto finished her opening statements. 

Minto remarked on her feelings about Reagan’s lasting influence and how it stills affects her.  

“He’s definitely an inspiration to me,” Minto said. 

Smith is a news reporter.

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