That’s what we thought while planning the 2017 NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.). We wanted to make a splash in the 21st year of the program by ramping up social media and giving our future leaders some great takeaway merchandise.
Each year the Event Marketing and Communications team in NRA Field Operations selects 45-50 of the best and brightest rising high school juniors and seniors to tour the nation’s capital for a week. This weeklong educational summit centers on leadership, fellowship and citizenship, with students learning more about our country’s history, our government and how to become responsible citizens who participate in the democratic process and return to their community with a proactive voice for the Second Amendment.
How about asking Friends of NRA and The NRA Foundation’s dedicated sponsors if they would like to partake in the 2017 Y.E.S. program by donating swag? The idea was to take the six tour groups that we divide Y.E.S. students into and name each one after a sponsor.
We reached out to Kathy Purtell, Friends of NRA Merchandise Manager, as well as Caitlin Fiandt, Director of Corporate Partnerships. They pulled up their sleeves and got to work. In less than one week we had Daniel Defense, Henry, Kel-Tec, Kimber, Mossberg and Smith & Wesson hats and t-shirts flooding our cubicles.
“When I made those phone calls to our sponsors, there was absolutely no hesitation on their end,” says Purtell. “They were all very excited to send in t-shirts and caps for the Y.E.S. kids.”
“We’re fortunate to have great support from sponsors who recognize the importance of our youth programs," says Fiandt. “Understanding the principles of the democratic process begins at an early age and our partners recognize the positive impact these experiences create.”
Best yet were the excited faces of our Y.E.S. students when they opened their backpacks to find them full of goodies—not to mention the smiles and thumbs up from pro-Second Amendment citizens in the greater Washington, D.C., area as we walked by!