Legion College 2009 Pennsylvania American Legion
“to foster and perpetuate a 100% AMERICANISM” Americanism is love of America; loyalty to her institutions as the best yet devised by man to secure life, liberty, individual dignity and happiness; and the willingness to defend our country and flag against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Americanism is an ideal of loyal patriotism, religious tolerance, righteous freedom, fearless courage, honest integrity, abiding faith in the commanding destiny of the United States, and fathomless love for the principles that led our forefathers to found this country.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESAmerican Legion Baseball American Legion Baseball (ALB) began in 1925 and held its first national tournament the following year. Today, more than 4,800 teams and about 95,000 youngsters participate in all states and Puerto Rico. Pennsylvania alone has over 600 teams. ALB consists of two divisions – seniors (19 years of age and younger) and juniors (17 years of age and younger). ALB strives to teach practical lessons of good sportsmanship and citizenship. Loyalty, respect for rules and decisions rendered, fair play, courage and physical fitness are emphasized in this activity. Many current and former MLB players developed their skills on American Legion diamonds. They include Hall of Famers like Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Don Drysdale, Joe Morgan, Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson. Current stars like Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols and Darin Erstad played American Legion Baseball. American Legion Baseball depends upon its Posts, individual Legionnaires and other Legion family organizations to promote the activity. Enthusiastic leadership, coaches and players are available in almost every community where and American Legion Post is located.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESScouting The American Legion’s support of Scouting began at its first national convention when the Legion officially recognized Scouting as a positive program for the nation’s youth. The support has remained constant through the years with local posts chartering more than 2,500 units serving more than 70,000 young people. Hundreds of other units benefit from financial and other forms of support from American Legion Posts. The American Legion sponsors an annual scholarship awarded to the Eagle Scout who is selected as “The American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year.” The winner is awarded a $10,000 college scholarship. Three additional scholarships of $2,500 each are also awarded to three runners-up. The American Legion recently introduced its Scouting Square Knot Award that recognized American Legion, Auxiliary or Sons of The American legion members who are actively involved in the Scouting program. Over 200 Square Knot Awards have been awarded to recognize Legion family members to further the Scouting program in The American Legion.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESJunior Shooting Sports The American Legion’s Junior Shooting Sports Program is a national activity administered through Legion-sponsored clubs organized to provide gun safety and marksmanship training for young people. The program is recognized by shooting sports groups as one of the premier amateur shooting programs in the country. More than 900 teams are currently affiliated in the program and approximately 1,500 individual shooters enter national competition each year. The competition culminates with the national championships at the world class shooting complex at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Competition begins with postal matches to determine state and/or regional champions. The next state is a Qualification Round to determine shooters who will earn expense paid trips to the National Championships. Team competition is also available at postal levels. The program uses .177 caliber air guns and competitors fire targets set-up in firing lanes 10 meters (33 feet) in length. Air gun ranges can be set up in classrooms, Legion Post Homes or any enclosed area with adequate lighting and space. Any recognized youth group (school or club) with responsible adult leadership can become involved with this program. The group/club must be sponsored by an American Legion Post and affiliated with the National Organization. The American Legion, based on its involvement in programs like the Junior Shooting Sports, was awarded membership on the United States Olympic Committee.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESBoys State American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program where each participant becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government. Boys State has been a program of the National Americanism Commission since 1935. Forty-nine states conduct this program serving more than 25,000 young men. At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs. Posts interview and select participants after receiving recommendations from school officials. Costs are usually paid by an American Legion Posts, a local business or another community-based organization. THIS YEAR’S KEYSTONE BOYS STATE WILL BE HELD JUNE 20-26, 2010 AT SHIPPENSBURG UNIVERSITY.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESBoys Nation Two of the most outstanding participants in each of the 49 Boys State programs are invited to participate in American Legion Boys Nation. This activity, held annually in the Washington, DC area, also emphasizes citizenship education but, unlike Boys State, it centers on the study of the federal government and its supporting agencies. Like American Legion Boys State, Boys Nation is an exercise in a two-party system of government. Each delegate becomes a senator and is assigned to one of two mythical political parties. The boys caucus, organize into committees, conduct hearings and act on bills that they introduce into the Boys Nation Senate. Political figures and other prominent on the Washington scene participate in Boys Nation, providing their expertise on the many facets of the federal government. Special visits to federal agencies, national shrines and other points of interest are included in the weeklong session. Organization of parties, party conventions, the nomination and election of officers, all provide practical experience in politics and the administration of a republic. These and similar activities create an understanding of, and an appreciation for, our system of government. Since its beginning in 1946, Boys Nation has seen many of its graduates elected to public offices which include the Presidency of The United States, the U.S. Congress, as state governors and as state legislators. Many others became inspired to actively work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESState Police Youth Week State Police Youth Week (SPYW) was established in 1970 to increase understanding among the state’s youth and its law enforcement. The objective is to give the cadets the chance to see and experience first-hand various areas of law enforcement, which include leadership, discipline and self-esteem. The mission of SPYW is to prepare the cadets through moral, intellectual and physical aspects to become the future leaders of the Commonwealth and instill in them courage, honor and commitment. SPYW is sponsored by The American Legion and the PA State Police. It is a six-day camp which will introduce students to all procedures of law enforcement. Cadets march to their classes in platoon formation and have drill competition. The program includes information on the following: physical training, self-defense, forensics, canine, crime codes, bomb squad, SWAT team, riot control, prison systems, drug laws, radar, marksmanship and familiarity with weapons. This program is open to an male or female students who have completed the 10th or 11th grades. This is not a recreational or disciplinary camp! THIS YEAR’S spyw PROGRAM DATES AND PLACE ARE tbd IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESOratorical Contest The American Legion’s National High School Oratorical Contest is an activity designed to develop in high school students a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Constitution of the United States. Other objectives are those of leadership, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, the rights and privileges of American citizenship. High school students are eligible to compete, subject to the rules established by the national Americanism Commission. The contest has two phases: prepared orations of eight to ten minutes in length and an assigned topic presentation of from three to five minutes. Department level contest are usually held during the months of January through March. National competition is conducted over a single weekend, usually in April, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Scholarships are awarded at most levels of competition. At the National level, first place receives $18,000; second, $16,000 and third $14,000. Each Department winner participating in the first round finals will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Our Department awards $7,500 to the first place winner; $5,000 to second place and $4,000 to third place. Contestants may also be eligible for scholarships while competing at the post, county or district levels. NOTE: Amounts will vary.
YOUTH ACTIVITIESEssay Contest As American Legionnaires, we fully believe that education is the cornerstone upon which the future of America is built. Education becomes the first requisite of good citizenship and the relationship of The American Legion to Pennsylvania citizens is of prime importance as a means of keeping us a free civilization. Our approach to supporting solid educational principles is direct and positive. We agree with the current PA Department of Education initiative of “writing across the curriculum” and reward the efforts of involved students through our annual essay scholarship program. Since the inception of the Department of Pennsylvania state Essay Contest in 1935, The American Legion has awarded well over $500,000 in scholarships, while local American Legion Posts, counties, Districts and Sections have also offered suitable awards and prizes for their respective best essay winners as well. Through the annual Department of Pennsylvania American Legion Essay scholarship contest, students are provided an opportunity to showcase their talents and abilities in English by using originality, accuracy and research as evidence, while learning that the responsibilities and duties of good citizenship can be both rewarding and fun. This year’s Department Essay Contest topic is, “Is the Stimulus Package Worthwhile?” Department will award $3,500 to the first place winner, $3,000 to second place and $2,500 to third place. Contestants may also be eligible for scholarships while competing at the post, county or district levels. NOTE: Amounts will vary.
SCHOOL & STUDENT PROGRAMSNeed A Lift? The American Legion publishes Need A Lift? – a financial aid handbook for high school students. The publication features information on scholarships, loan and grant opportunities and information about specific colleges and careers. The publication can be purchased for $3.00 through Department or National Emblem Sales.
SCHOOL & STUDENT PROGRAMSAmerican Legacy Scholarship The American Legion has established the American Legacy Scholarship for children of service men and women killed while on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2001. Money provided by law simply has not kept up with what a higher education costs today, let alone what college will cost in years to come. Remember, these children are the direct descendants of people who died protecting our country. Their parents made the ultimate sacrifice. The least we can do is make sure they are provided for. We need your help to make The American Legion American Legacy Scholarship a reality. Too many men and women in uniform have died in the fight to preserve our nation's freedoms. Together, we can make sure their children have the opportunity these parents were unable to provide. We encourage you to give generously to The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. Help us to bridge the gap and restore the faith of these special children. Application and eligibility information are available at www.legion.org.
SCHOOL & STUDENT PROGRAMSRobert J. Trace Essay Scholarship The Robert J. Trace Scholarship Fund was set up by Robert J. Trace and his family. Bob served as a Department officer for an incredible fifty years, one as Judge Advocate and 49 as Finance officer. Bob was also an Honorary Past Department Commander. Legionnaires of his caliber are hard to find; his dedication and contribution to the Pennsylvania American Legion is legendary. Education was very important to Bob and his family. The Robert J. Trace Scholarship Fund was established to assist young patriotic students achieve their academic dreams. The Robert J. Trace Scholarship Fund is available to every student 15 to 18 years of age residing within the state of Pennsylvania and meeting the following criteria: · A child or grandchild of a Pennsylvania Legionnaire in good standing; · A child or grandchild of a deceased Pennsylvania Legionnaire; · A child of a Pennsylvania soldier that was killed as a result of the war on terrorism including the Pentagon, Iraq and Afghanistan. To be eligible a student must compose a 300 to 500 word essay on the topic “Patriotism and Citizenship - What America Means to Me”, and complete an application containing the information of the person through which the eligibility for this scholarship is made. Applications have been sent to each American Legion Post and are also available on our website at www.pa-legion.com. The essays will be judged by the members of the Department Finance Committee. Deadline for submission of this essay will be May 31, 2010. Essays and applications must be sent to the Pennsylvania American Legion HQ. One winner will be selected each year and will receive a $500 scholarship.
SCHOOL & STUDENT PROGRAMSPA Legion Scholarships JOSEPH P. GAVENONIS COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP (PLAN I) Awarded annually to Pennsylvania High School seniors who are planning to seek a four- year undergraduate degree in a Pennsylvania college or university. The award is made each year for the four years. After the first year, the award is based on student’s progress, especially grades, while in school. The award is sent directly to the school. ORDER OF ELIGIBILITY The child of a deceased Legionnaire (must have been a member of a Pennsylvania Legion Post at the time of death) or person certified by the United States Department of Defense as KIA or MIA. Children of members in good standing in an American Legion Post in Pennsylvania, with that membership being documented. Financial need must be ascertained. The scholarship award amount will be determined annually by the Scholarship Committee at an annual meeting held at Department Headquarters held in May/June of entries received by May 1st for the forthcoming school year. The awards will be paid in equal installments at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. Continuation of the scholarship grant is based on the student’s grades. These must be submitted to Headquarters at the end of each semester to remain eligible.
SCHOOL & STUDENT PROGRAMSPA Legion Scholarships ROBERT W. VALIMONT ENDOWMENT FUND SCHOLARSHIP (PLAN II) The second is an endowment scholarship providing a sum of money to be paid to high school seniors in Pennsylvania who are planning to seek career-oriented education or training in a less than four-year program in a Pennsylvania school. ORDER OF ELIGIBILITY 1. Children of Pennsylvania American Legion members who are deceased, KIA, or MIA. 2. Children of members in good standing in an American Legion Post in Pennsylvania. (Membership in a Pennsylvania American Legion post is not necessary, but must be documented if it applies.) 3. All other qualified applicants. The amount of the Scholarship Grant award may vary from year to year, depending upon the availability of funds. The fund is financed by allocating five cents from each member’s dues from the Department’s per capita tax. Additional income is derived from the Holiday Label Card program. Separate contributions from the Posts, Districts, Sections, and individuals who support the Scholarship Endowment Fund.
SCHOOL & STUDENT PROGRAMSSchool Awards The American Legion School Awards Program recognizes students in the graduating class in elementary, junior and senior high schools and at the college level. Students are recognized for possessing qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service. Awards may be purchased for presentation from Emblem Sales.
National Judge AdvocatePhil Onderdonkwill now give his presentation.
“to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation.” One of the most lasting Legion contributions to American life is that of making our communities better places in which to live. Community Service projects often place special emphasis on the organization of safety first campaigns, the elimination of fire hazards, establishment of playgrounds and the erection of living memorials. More than 200 different types of projects, designed for the betterment of communities, are sponsored by more than 14,000 each year. Realizing that every community is in need of improvements, many American Legion Posts take a leadership role in community betterment.