By: Avery Hudkins
Young America’s Foundation (YAF) is a new club here at Jenks! YAF is a conservative club that stands up for individual freedom, small Government, strong National Defense, and traditional values. YAF holds interesting and educational events such as 9/11 Never Forget, where club members put flags out for victims involved in the tragedy, building a fake Berlin Wall and tearing it down, and the “Change My Mind Table” where members can have political debates about certain topics.
Isabella Suttee is only a freshman at Jenks and already has such an impressive list of accomplishments. Not only is she the founder and chairman of the Jenks YAF club, but she is also a freshman on the high school varsity golf team, involved in her youth group at Kirk of the Hills, a piano and cello player, a writer, and is always up for a new challenge.
Suttee was first introduced to the idea of the club by a friend who started their own club down in Texas. She then felt very inspired to begin her own club at Jenks this year after finding more interest in politics that stemmed from relevant political events.
“I come by many people who are against my beliefs and I have realized a lot of kids at Jenks are in the closet about their conservative beliefs and feel shot down whenever they voice their opinions,” says Suttee. “I wanted to give them some empowerment to raise their voice.”
The more Suttee recognized the issue, the more she realized that she had to do something.
“I went to YAF’s online website and signed up right away,” says Suttee. “I then emailed one of the official YAF members who works at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California, and they sent me a couple documents that I would need to sign as well as them. Next I had to go to the Principal and pitch my idea for the club and some of the events we would hold. Once they were on board with that I just had to find a teacher who would hold my meetings in their classroom.”
As part of her preparation for starting the club, Suttee visited the Reagan Ranch Center over Spring Break, where she listened to speakers and was introduced to the foundational beliefs of the YAF. She found the experience transformational.
“It will move you. Reagan was such a great President. Seeing his place was a very humbling experience. It shows how he was all for the people and not into the big and extravagant things,” Suttee says.
One of Suttee’s major triumphs with YAF has been creating a social media account for her club.
“I’ve had a couple of people already sign up. I plan to soon get out on campus and start setting up events,” Suttee says.
Along with her accomplishments in YAF, Suttee has also faced some challenges such as hate on social media. “I am always willing to sit down and have a civil political discussion with anyone who disagrees with me on a certain topic” Suttee says.
One way she has learned to deal with all the hate on social media is from the Activism Training out in Santa Barbara, California, and the official YAF website. Suttee has learned not to engage in the hate so that you don’t give power to the person who’s speaking.
“I choose to ignore the hate and just know and stand by my beliefs,” says Suttee.
Alison Foley, a junior at Jenks High School, is a member of Jenk’s YAF. Foley looks forward to learning more about Conservative beliefs while being in this club.
“What I wish people knew about YAF is there are two sides to every story,” Foley says.
Suttee aims to gain a large group of members to participate in YAF’s events.One major benefit members who join get are discounts on official YAF conferences down in Texas or California. These events can have well-known speakers such as Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krause, and more.
“I really hope people view YAF down the road as a great club with nice members who like to participate in fun events,” says Suttee. She hopes that YAF will be a stepping stone into people finding a comfortable place to discuss their beliefs and values. Suttee aspires for this club to continue and grow on after she graduates.
“This club is really about educating people about Conservative beliefs and showing people it’s not all what the media says as well as just speaking up for what we believe in,” she says.