|1. Transparency in party operations
I know this seems like an odd thing to start with. But the youth of this party are the least likely to know "what is going on." Worse, they probably don't have a lot of older folks in their social network that they can ask. If I feel like I don't know what is happening, I can't imagine how I would feel if I were 20 and new to the scene. We must all commit ourselves to putting more of what the party does online. This goes for everyone, from our town committees to elected officials to the major campaigns to the state committee. This openness will empower everyone, especially the younger Republicans.
2. Online activism opportunities
Since this generation lives online, we should find ways to use their engagement to help the party. Committees and campaigns should all contribute things they need done into a one-stop-shop online activism "portal." This wouldn't have to be targeted specifically to young people, but they should be in mind. These tasks could be varied: perhaps they need someone to promote a great op-ed in the Boston Herald. Maybe there is a big MassGOP event coming up and we would like five people to commit to Facebook or Twitter updates for those that cannot attend. Or there is an RTC that needs someone to come and do a one-hour presentation on social media techniques.
3. Oral history
I am always amazed at how much I don't know about Massachusetts politics. After all, I only moved to this state in 1998.
It has been a big handicap sometimes that I didn't know how important this politician was in defining how the party works, or how that issue was dealt with years ago, or how that woman over there was really a big fish back in the day and she might have a lot of things to teach me.
I know so much more now than when I moved here. I could have been more effective if I had some of this knowledge. (Can you believe I didn't even know the state committee existed until 2004?)
I think young people need this oral history more than anyone. So I think we should find people who know the whole political history of this state, and get them to volunteer to cover certain topics - and then make themselves available to young people online and in various CR/YR forums. Someone could, for example, agree to do a one-hour talk called, "The Corner Office" and teach young people about who the recent Republican governors were, how they were elected, what they did, and what impact they had on the people and politics of the state.
I realize this sounds corny, but I bet there are a lot of young people who would really find it interesting.
4. Strategy briefings
Everyone wants to know what the important people are planning. So I think there should be a regular briefing of the YR and CR groups as to what is going on inside the party, the state legislature, and the major campaigns. I think a quarterly Google Hangout would be just awesome. :-)
5. Involvement in key initiatives: branding, urban life, "Massachusetts 2025"
While the youth don't know very much or have a lot of experience yet - (heh heh heh) - I think there are definitely some areas where they can really help the party even more than the older folks. For instance, no one knows better than this group how badly the MassGOP needs a re-branding. I think there should be a group of them that should meet regularly and talk about how we can do that. (Again, meet online with something like Google Hangout or a group chat.) Another focus area should be urban life. Many of them love the cities and live there. How can we get more in tune with what is going on there? How can we learn to speak the language of city-dwellers? A third area is really all about them: they are the "future generation" that we are always talking about getting screwed by today's politicians. We need young people to step up and explain, in their words, what this level of government, debt, and anxiety is doing to their hopes and dreams as citizens. Also, if there are good things that the government is doing today that will affect their future positively, let's hear about that, too! But I would love to see young Republicans begin to think about life in the future, and how it is related to the choices our government is making today. Maybe we could call it, "Massachusetts 2025." As an activity, the state party could have an essay competition about what life will be like then, and why what we do now matters.
6. Technology training
So while young people get all the credit for being tech-savvy, they actually know almost nothing about how it works. They are great users of it, but almost never builders of technology. We desperately need more people in the party with at least some software skills. This could be something as light as administering a NationBuilder site, or knowing how to pull campaign finance or voter data into a webpage, or how to use iMovie effectively. For example, a college Republican I know recently decided to get some Wordpress training to help his organization get a better website. It was a great experience for him and he is now even more useful to campaigns than before. We need much more of that. We need people who have the time and inclination to become some of the most important people in our party: the nerds. In the Democratic party - at least nationally - these people are treated like heroes, because they are. Let's get to work developing some of our own.
Well, that's all I have to say for now on this topic. I hope that the young people of the party like these ideas and that the older folk find them compelling.