Betty Doucet 228-990-6969
When were you first introduced to the term “patriotism”? I don’t remember mine, however, I do remember Kindergarten and the attempt to learn the Pledge of Allegiance.
I was so proud to put my hand on my chest and boldly repeat the words ‘I pledge of Allegiance’. I don’t remember much after that but I do remember every scout meeting and the beginning of class each day, we would say the ‘Pledge’ and were glad to do so.
At that young age I had no idea why we said it and didn’t concept the idea of why and how we got the privilege of saying it. I did find out later in my younger years who and why gave us this opportunity. Many men and women ‘signed on the dotted line’ and gave up so may things and some gave ‘all’ so that we could be free to say and do the many things that people take for granted today.
Today’s youth are no exception. They need to be taught the freedoms they are enjoying today were at the cost of someone elses misfortune.
Our program, Youth Activities, helps us achieve that goal. We have many avenues to experience the joy and happiness of teaching the future leaders of this great country what it means to be an American and a good one at that.
Patriotism through Literacy
We can promote patriotism though our reading program. Kindergartners, first & second graders, can be given the ‘seed’ of patriotism through reading of our historical figures that helped build this great country the United States of America. In books they will learn how our country was formed, the importance of our Flag and why we say the Pledge. Encouraging our youth to visit and take advantage of the reading material at a local library is one example of opening the world to them in many ways.
Examples of books with youth in mind are:
America the Beautiful by Cholena Rose Dare (ages 3-6)
The Night Before the Fourth of July by Narasha Wing (ages 3-5)
Fourth of July by Emma Carlson Berne (Holidays in Rhythm and Rhyme) (ages 5-7)
The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgleish (ages 4-8)
What Does it Mean to by American? by Rana DiOrio (ages 4-8)
Fireworks, Picnics, and Flag by James Cross Giblin (ages 10-12)
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out was created by the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance with 110 Renowned Authors and Illustrators.
Caroline Kennedy introduced and illustrated A Patriot’s Handbook, Songs, Poems,
Stories And Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.
These and many other patriotic books can be found at your nearest bookstore, or online for purchase.
There are many benefits from reading but my favorite reason that I told my granddaughter while home schooling her was, reading opens the world to you and you don’t even leave home.
As Auxiliary members we can participate by volunteering to read at a library near you, donate historical fiction to your local school libraries, community libraries or shelters. Host a read-a-thon and award something (maybe books) for the number of books read.
Get Excited for the Red, White and Blue
It is so inspiring to listen to our National Anthem sung but even more so when the young ones sing it. The Auxiliary sponsors a singing contest with two different age divisions; K-8 and 9-12. Entries will be judged on vocal ability, mastery of lyric, originality or interpretation and entertainment value.
First-place winner from each Department in each grade division will be forwarded to Auxiliary Headquarters. There will be one National winner in each grade division with awards for first, second and third place in each division. Entry forms are located in MALTA Member Resources, Youth Activities and contains eligibility requirements and contest rules.;
Entries received by:
Participating Auxiliary – March 31
Department – April 15 Nation Headquarters – May 5
Video of contestant’s solo vocal performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” must be recorded between July 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024.
Performance must be saved as a YouTube video.
Contestant maly sing a cappella, with backing tracks or instruments.
Contestant may sing in the arrangement and style of their choice.
Contestant may NOT change the words.
Encouraging more patriotism in our youth can be done by having them compete in the contest, Illustrating America, open to any student in grades K-8 who is enrolled in public, private and parochial school or a home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or who are dependents of U. S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools. However, foreign exchange students and students 15 years or older are ineligible. There are three grade divisions: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. National grade division winners of previous Illustrating America contests may enter the next grade division but are ineligible for the same grade division of which they are a previous winner.
The Department first-place winner in each grade division will be sent to National Headquarters. For more details on requirements, contest rules, the student brochure and entry form, consult MALTA Member Resources, Youth Activities.
Entries received by;
Local Auxiliary – March 31
Department – April 15 National Headquarters – May 5
Art must be two-dimensional.
Art must be on canvas or kpaper.
Watercolor, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen, ink, oil, marker or other media may be used.
Submit canvas entries on a stretcher frame or canvas board. Other entries, if matted, must be matted in white or reinforced with heavy paper.
The art should be no smaller than 8” x 10” but no larger than 18” x 24”, not including mat.
Coloring sheets, digital art and photograph are not accepted.
Creating, Sponsoring and Working with Youth Groups.
As part of the Auxiliary Youth Activities Program, an Auxiliary can sponsor a youth group and engage youth in any one of our Programs, including activities to honor our veterans or assist our service members and their families.
Take advantage of the service aspects some youth groups require. Many youth-focused organizations require various types of community service or activities to earn merits in their units. College-bound seniors earn school credit for some of these same activities. Remember that involving youth in service to veterans in conjunction with your Auxiliary can bring new membership to your Auxiliary. When youth and the whole family are included, members feel more invested in your Auxiliarysorship. Sponsorship of a youth group can create a bright future for your Auxiliary, veterans and the community as a whole.
Youth Group Examples for VFW Auxiliary Sponsorship
Youth sports teams
Church youth groups
After school programs
Youth community service groups
Nonprofit organization youth advisorycouncils
Service learning and civic engagement departments in high schools and colleges
Youth Groups Supporting Our Veterans Citations
This citation is one way for Auxiliaries to recognize youth groups for their efforts and service projects honoring our veterans, and assisting service members and their families. This citation is also available in MALTA Member Resources under Youth Actiovities.
Patrotic Youth Award
This award is designed to recognize individual youth for their patriotism and/or support of our veterans, service members and their lfamilies. A fill-able, printable version of The Patriotic Youth Award is available in MALTA Member Resources under Youth Activities
Involve Youth in ALL Auxiliary Programs
Encourage involvement from an early age in your activities and programs. Every young person can find their place to serve when they are presented with a variety of opportunities to serve their communities and veterans.
Teach youth about Auxiliary effort to:
Respect and take pride in our country.
Serve hospitalized veterans.
Elect leaders who appreciate our military.
Pass legislation that secures benefits for our veterans and many other worthy efforts!
Focusing on Patriotism, beginning at a young age is vital for them to appreciate the sacrifices of the veterans who have fought and died to keep our freedoms. As members of the VFW Auxiliary, we can start at home, at schools, community gatherings, at church and many other social gatherings setting good examples and reminding them of all that has been done for the people of the nation.
Make your Auxiliary Accessible to Today’s Youth