Have I mentioned recently how much I like Americans for Prosperity? Because I totally do. The first time I attended one of their events was Right Online 2010 in Las Vegas, when I was still a newbie to this whole professional blogging thing, and probably in way more over my head than I knew at the time.
On that maiden adventure with AFP, I got to meet so many fun people – AFP President Tim Phillips, fellow San Diego resident and former mayor Roger Hedgecock, Arizona State Senator Pamela Gorman, and poker superstar Johnny Chan. That last one wasn’t there with the convention, he just happened to be in Vegas. But I totally met him. And looked like an idiot doing it. Oh well, it all worked out in the end.
The next time I met up with AFP was the following January, when my friend Erik Telford, their Director of Online Strategy at the time tapped me to teach a training session on Twitter and Facebook at a regional event in San Diego. I’d given speeches at rallies before, but this was the first time I’d be teaching grassroots activists how to do something that other people believed I was good enough at to do. Eeeek! It ended up being fantabulous!
Around that same time, I drove up to Orange County to cover a School Choice Week event. There I met Hugh Hewitt and Dick Morris, and got a chance to chat with state directors David Spady (California) and Teresa Oelke (Arkansas). I was nervous as all get out, but the people at these things are so friendly that it’s easy to feel comfortable once you’re there. I ended up writing a pretty solid piece in support of school choice too (one of my pet issues) too, so yay!
A few months later AFP contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in covering the San Diego portion of their Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on a Government Pension tour. Basically, I’d be spending the afternoon in a limo with David Spady and Jen Jacobs, visiting various tax day tea parties around the county. Um, ok! Let’s roll. I wrote this about it, but I will always remember that afternoon for the most awkward photo ever taken of me in the back of a limo.
Last June, a year into my adventures with AFP, they asked me to come teach a podcasting class at Right Online 2011 in Minneapolis. I’d basically gotten my sea legs at my strange but wonderful job at that point, so I went to Minnesota with a bit more confidence than I’d had the year before. Plus I was teamed up to teach with Ed Morrissey, who is not only amazing at what he does, but also one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet.
Right Online 2011 was full of adventures, like finding the Target Mother Ship, eating the world’s most perfect sandwich at Hell’s Kitchen, and infiltrating a Netroots Nation event. Plus there was a piano bar, rooftop lawn bowling, and tons of friends to just hang out with.
After that was Defending the American Dream in November, where I spilled my blogging secrets with Erik Telford. I also met up with my boyfriend Abe at the Lincoln Memorial, met some real-life heroes, and made a ton of new friends like Melissa Ortiz of Able Americans, an advocacy group for handicapped Americans.
Occupy had taken some sort of force by then, and I captured this awesome video about shaking your booty for freedom, shaking it for peace, shaking it against the police. So frickin’ lame. Get a job, hippies!
Since then, I did another regional event in San Diego, this time with famed California blogger Jon Fleischman of the Flash Report, and last weekend I was in Vegas once again for Right Online 2012. Vegas was special this time because Leif got to come with me and meet all my cohorts.
Oh, and it gave me an excuse to see Ashley. And stay an extra day and hang by the pool with her drinking pina coladas.
So yeah, AFP and I are buds by now. I love their commitment to grassroots training and activism, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. There’s another Defending the American Dream summit coming up in August in DC. I highly recommend attending – it’s an experience you won’t regret.