2017-2018 National Youth Activities Ambassador
12 Ways to Involve Youth in Patriotic Holidays
May is less than a week away! The 2017-2018 Program Year is winding down, schools across the country will begin dismissing students for summer break, and there are numerous opportunities for youth to support our veterans, active-duty services members, and their families.
May is National Military Appreciation Month and it also includes the following holidays and days of appreciation:
- Loyalty Day (May 1)
- Victory in Europe Day – V-E Day (May 8)
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 11)
- Mother’s Day (May 13)
- Armed Forces Day (May 19)
- Memorial Day (May 28)
Read twelve ways for youth to participate in and support your Auxiliary projects for these holidays below:
- Host a night out for military parents and/or families. Offer free babysitting for parents who wish to have a night out or host a family night with board games, movies and snacks.
- Host a breakfast/brunch/lunch/barbeque for military spouses, mothers/grandmothers and/or veterans, and have youth help decorate, set-up/tear-down, serve desserts and provide entertainment. Youth may even be able to help with the menu and meal preparation!
- Make and/or send cards to military spouses, mothers/grandmothers, veterans and deployed service members.
- Create a craft for and/or with military spouses, mothers/grandmothers, veterans and deployed service members.
- Plan a “Spring Cleaning Day” at the home(s) of a deployed service member, disabled or elderly veteran and enlist youth to help.
- Send care packages to deployed service members, or create a care package to be given to the spouse of a deployed service member with fun things for them to do with their children (movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, bowling, miniature golf, etc.)
- Host a Flag education event and ask your local JROTC or Scout troop to participate. This could involve a Flag raising, explaining the 13 folds of the Flag, or a Flag retirement ceremony.
- Educate youth about the meaning and purpose of the “Buddy”® Poppy and invite them to join Auxiliary members at a “Buddy”® Poppy drive. If they are unable to attend the drive (or even if they are), ask them to create posters/artwork using the “Buddy” ® Poppy to be displayed during the drive.
- Educate youth about the difference between Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Once they understand the difference, ask them to share their knowledge with family and friends!
- Participate in an Armed Forces Day or Memorial Day parade by walking with Auxiliary members and handing out Flags to parade attendees.
- Visit a retirement community and speak with veterans. Encourage youth to ask questions about the veterans’ childhood and their time in the service.
- Invite youth to assist Auxiliary members in placing Flags on veterans’ graves for Memorial Day.
There are many other ways for youth to get involve. I encourage you to think outside the box. Not sure what they can do or help with? Ask youth what they would like to do! Including youth in your Auxiliary activities will help to teach them about our veterans, active-duty service members, their families, and the sacrifices they have made for the freedoms we enjoy every day!