2020-2021 National Youth Activities Ambassador
It’s hard to believe we are almost at the halfway point of our Program Year. I am so proud to say that the VFW Auxiliary has not let the pandemic stop us! You have shown how strong we are when we work together. We may be doing things differently than we were at this time last year, but nothing is stopping you. I think every Department has perfected the “drive by” and hosted school supply pick-up, Halloween trick-or-treat alternatives and other events using this method. This is one of the many ways Auxiliaries are still helping their communities.
Winter break is upon us and youth need activities to fill their time. Support time away from TV, computer, tablet and phone screens with these activities:
- Get crafty! Put together individual packages of simple crafts. (Tip: Google “simple crafts for kids” for examples.) These should be something youth can do on their own. Be sure to include all required materials.
- Stay in the lines! For students in grades K-3, order coloring books from the VFW Store and send one home with a package of crayons, markers or colored pencils. There are seven topics to choose from.
- Paint the day away! Rock painting is trendy and is a great project for youth of all ages. Paint one side with a patriotic symbol (Flag, eagle, Statue of Liberty, etc.) or list an inspiring patriotic message. The other side lists your Auxiliary number, city or town and contact number/email address for more information.
Winter break is also a great time for students to focus on our contests. Our new “Get Excited for the Red, White and Blue!” singing contest is a fun way for youth to show their patriotism. Our goal this year is to have every Department have an entry judged at the National level. Will your Auxiliary have an entry to submit to the Department-level contest? If you have not yet received a submission, has your Auxiliary:
- Contacted youth directly? (E.g., family members, known students, etc.)
- Put up flyers in public places around your town? (E.g., libraries, community centers, coffee shops, etc.)
- Submitted information to the local paper?
- Shared information on social media?
- Provided information to local schools?
There’s no time like the present to get the information out in our communities. The entry deadline to local Auxiliaries is March 31, only three and a half months away.
Don’t forget, there is an Auxiliary award for the best promotion of this contest. Find the Youth Activities Award No. 1 entry form under “2020-2021 National Program Award Forms” at vfwauxiliary.org/resources.
Show Some Love
As fast as the first half of the year went, I am sure the second half will, too. Don’t let the post-holiday blues take hold of you after you put away the tree and festive décor. Turn your thoughts to Valentine’s Day and keep sharing the love in 2021. Many of our veterans in VA and non-VA medical facilities have not had visitors since March. Five ways youth can make Valentine’s Day special for veterans include:
- Sign, seal and deliver it. Handmade, hand delivered valentines are always appreciated and a way to lift spirits.
- Decorate halls or doors. Send decorating supplies to the facility if youth are unable to decorate in-person.
- Name that tune. Veterans guess the love song sung and/or played by youth. This can be done via video or in-person.
- Make a match. Facilitate or participate in a pen pal program for youth and veterans.
- Interview a veteran. This may be done in-person, over the phone or via video chat. The student may even get school credit.
Talk with youth about the veterans in VA hospitals and other medical facilities, about the time in history in which they served. The youth may surprise you by thinking of something to do for the veterans that we didn’t!
“Behind every young child who believes in themselves, is a parent who believed first.” – Matthew Jacobsen
I love this quote. If we continue to support, encourage and motivate our youth in the second half of the year as we have the first, there is no telling what your Auxiliaries will accomplish.