RWYouth.com: through the Internet, RWYouth is bringing together young Americans to learn more about their priceless heritage of liberty.
The present state of affairs in the United States reflects the lack of instruction on these vital and basic principles. Honesty, morality, respect for property, federalism, separation of powers, and the belief that rights come from God are principles and values that helped to secure liberty for the Founding Fathers and can help us to restore our constitutional republic today. These constitute some of the principles of Americanism, principles that were once commonly spoken of, but now removed from everyday vernacular. However, there is one place on the Internet where Americanism is alive and well--RWYouth.
Robert Welch Youth, an adjunct of Robert Welch University, is an online community of young people who love America and understand the importance of their heritage of liberty. These teens come from different educational and religious backgrounds but share a common devotion to God, family and country. "I love this country!" enthused Chickadee, aka Chantal Carpenter of Oklahoma, on the RWYouth message boards. Wampawells, aka Spencer Wells of North Carolina, wrote in an article posted on the site, "It is my firm belief that these were inspired men [the Founding Fathers], and that God worked through them in magnificent ways so that they could 'secure the blessings of liberty' in our land for their descendants."
Why has RWYouth been successful at reaching youth? "RWYouth is on the Internet and that gives us an advantage," says Dr. Steven Bonta, Robert Welch University's executive administrator. "Other youth groups have been stifled by conflicting schedules, distance and the relative scarcity of well-informed Americanist youth interested in attending planned local meetings. The word 'meeting' is enough to scare off most youth. On the Internet youth can participate at their leisure, and on their own schedule." Beyond scheduling issues, the real challenge is reaching young people at their level and in a way that keeps their interest. That is why, according to Dr. Bonta, "RWYouth employs many different methods including games, cartoons, chats, and message boards to gain the attention of youth."
Cartoons and games are tools that the mainstream media and the Left have been using for decades to reach youth with various subversive messages. Now new Internet applications make it inexpensive and relatively easy to use these same tools to deliver patriotic messages. For example, RWYouth has an expanding collection of hilarious Flash animations such as "Save the Trees" and "Pest Removal."
Games such as "Riding with Paul Revere" make learning the basic facts about Americanism fun. The game is a quiz with six levels in which players try to keep the "Redcoats" at bay by answering the questions correctly. Answer correctly and the Redcoats keep their distance. Incorrect answers allow the Redcoats to advance. Get too many questions wrong in a row, and you'll end up in the hands of the British. Complete all six levels to win the game and get a time bonus! There is a fictional story that goes with the game and a link to the true story--an excellent article about Paul Revere by Thomas R. Eddlem, a contributing writer for THE NEW AMERICAN.
There are other quizzes that will challenge more astute youth and adults, such as, the "Words of the Constitution" quiz. What exactly is "capitation" anyway? If you don't know, take the quiz to find out.
RWYouth is not all fun and games. For the more studious members, there are original articles on a variety of topics and geared to various reading levels. "Our site has a wide variety of content, on different people and subjects," says Alan Scholl, the RWU youth programs administrator. "Visitors to the site will find everything from serious historical profiles on Pufendorf, a 17th-century philosopher whose writings influenced the Founding Fathers, to reviews of the not-so-serious but ever popular Homestar Runner website. There is a collection of biographies on famous founding-era heroes such as James Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Wilson. There are also movie reviews on Pirates of the Caribbean, The Passion of The Christ, and Finding Nemo." One of the most popular columns on the site is "Dave's Rant," in which "Dave" spouts off about serious issues in a light and humorous way.
Monday through Friday RWYouth posts links to "breaking news" stories that vary from serious current issues to items of curiosity and humor. These news links have a purpose. According to Dr. Bonta, "Robert Welch University believes it is important for youth to learn at an early age to read the news and stay informed about current events. RWYouth directs youth to stories of significance and provides the perspective to 'read between the lines.'"
Everybody has a vote in the RWYouth polls, which are entertaining and help to establish a sense of community on a variety of topics. There is a new poll on the home page every week. One such poll, "What's the best thing to do on Friday?" includes options such as: study, date, watch "Full House" reruns, and stay at home/stare at walls.
"Youth need more than just truth to keep them in the freedom fight" says Mr. Scholl. "Constant contact with like-minded youth helps to keep the fire kindled and establish support from peers. RWYouth chats and message boards provide a way for youth to meet one another and maintain contact. The chat forums, referred to on the site as 'Independence Hall,' are open 24/7 and 365 to members of RWYouth." Every Tuesday night a chat event is hosted in which Alan Scholl and other website administrators chat with members of RWYouth.
The chat software employed enables interactive chatting with buddy lists, private messaging, emotes, and more. Administrators can share picture slides, and even sound and music, through this very dynamic chat forum. Tuesday nights have also been the traditional night for special guests to take center stage at "Independence Hall." William Norman Grigg, William F. Jasper, Dr. Steve Bonta, Gary Benoit and others have made special visits to the chat forum. "Tuesday nights are a blast!" says Autumnbookworm, aka Sarah Williamson, a member and frequent chatter.
When "Independence Hall" is empty, the message boards are always available to youth to post messages that their friends can read at their convenience. RWYouth message boards are powered by PHPBB, one of the most popular forum systems on the web. It's easy to use and loaded with features like private mail, personal avatars, and groups.
Not Just a Website
RWU hosts youth summer camps around the nation every summer. These summer camps are an essential part of the RWYouth experience. These camps give youth a comprehensive education in Americanism. Campers learn from expert Americanist speakers whose powerful, dynamic presentations inform and enlighten. There is also plenty of time for fun and recreation at RWU Summer Camps. Hiking, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding and volleyball are just a few of the fun activities at camp.
Camp is where the virtual world springs to life. This will be the first camp season when youth who have become friends over the Internet at RWYouth will meet in person at camp. Many RWYouth members are excited about camp and are planning to attend. One member and camper, xConspiracyOflx, aka Liz Humphrey, posted this comment about the 2003 Southwest camp on the RWYouth boards, "Camp was awesome! Met up with some old friends, and made some new ones. Loved the new classes!"
Everybody knows somebody else at RWYouth. Unlike the rest of the faceless and nameless Interact, RWYouth is personal and close knit. "Even though we're in the virtual world of the Internet, we want to keep Robert Welch Youth as close to a physical organization as possible," says Youth Administrator Alan Scholl. One of the attributes of a physical organization is that everybody knows somebody else. To become a member of RWYouth, one must have attended a RWU summer camp, know somebody who has attended, or know a member of The John Birch Society. Others who want to join may, but they will be interviewed by email or phone by a staff member of RWU and then introduced and welcomed into the membership.
Members of RWYouth gain recognition for their achievements and talents. Members are encouraged to share their successes, and where possible these stories are shared on the website. Christopher Jasper, an excellent flamenco guitar player and member of RWYouth, had his music featured at an RWYouth chat event. RWYouth occasionally holds art contests and writing contests.
Once a week a member is selected to share his (or her) "personal profile" on RWYouth. A picture of the member, user name, real name, goals and aspirations, and "favorites" are posted on the site to share with all. "The member of the week or 'MOTW,' as we sometimes call it, is an opportunity for other members of RWYouth to get to know each other," remarks Alan Scholl. "Any member of RWYouth can be a member of the week; all they have to do is ask."
A Work in Progress
RWYouth.com launched its website in June of 2003. Since then it has experienced a steady rise in web traffic. According to Alan Scholl this is due "primarily to word of mouth and RWU Summer Camp promotions. RWYouth.com is one of the best kept secrets on the Internet, but not for long. Future improvement plans and continued content development make the future of RWYouth look very promising."
RWYouth.com is constantly adding to, updating and improving its website. One of RWYouth's goals is to create and introduce more dynamic and interactive content to the website. These enhancements will set up a point system where youth will be able to log in to an account and acquire points by reading articles, playing games, taking quizzes, or engaging in other interactive content on the site. This system, coupled with more Flash animation and games, will help make the site ever more attractive to youth.
RWYouth is offering a truly unique approach to teaching youth about Americanism over the Internet. "Our purpose is clear," says Alan Scholl. "RWYouth is about inspiring youth and giving them an insatiable love for and a clear understanding of constitutional principles. Once the youth catch that flame they can become focused activists and leaders. Their leadership and influence will help to shape our future. One that will include a return to constitutional government."
Joseph Story, a Supreme Court justice nominated by James Madison, wrote in his Commentaries on The Constitution of The United States, "Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them." RWYouth is creating a new generation of youth who are virtuous, patriotic, and informed, who one day will reinstate the wise and honest and give no heed to the flattery of demagogues whose deceits have led us to our present condition.
MEMBER OF THE WEEK
Real Name: Sarah Christine Williamson
Birthday: October 26, 1987
Education Level: Home-Schooler
Camps Attended: 3
Sarah is an active member of RWYouth, and participates in every chat she can. A fan of camp, she plans to attend many more! She reads THE NEW AMERICAN regularly. Sarah's hobbies are writing poetry (she's been published twice), composing music, and hanging out with her friends. She likes to cook gourmet food. She's been playing the piano for nine years.
MEMBER OF THE WEEK
Real Name: Chris Sharpe
Birthday: July 25, 1985
Education Level: Senior
Camps Attended: 6
Chris frequently attends the Southwest RWU Summer Camp. He enjoys working on computers, designing websites and PC games, and developing programs. Chris has a great website where he helps people learn new ways of developing games or modifications for games. He also plays the guitar and piano, and he used to play the Scottish bagpipes in his school band. When he's not doing any of the above, he fences or rides his horse.
MEMBER THE WEEK
Real Name: Chantal Carpenter
Birthday: July 4, 1987
Education Level: 11th grade
Camps Attended: 3 going on 4
According to Chantal, "Camp changed my life and my views entirely. I have created friendships (one in particular) that are special to me and will really last a lifetime." Chantal plans to keep attending RWU summer camp and become an RWU camp counselor. After high school she plans to attend the University of Washington.
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|Title Annotation:||Robert Welch Youth|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Jun 14, 2004|
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