Chair: Nancy Diefenderfer (70)
To inspire, recognize, and perpetuate responsible citizenship through education and acts of patriotism, in order to raise
awareness and increase appreciation of the price paid for our fundamental freedoms.”
The Auxiliary provides opportunities and resources for learning about the Constitution and flying the flag on patriotic holidays. The Auxiliary promotes many patriotic youth programs, including the Americanism Essay Contest. They also fold pocket flags to send to our troops overseas and present flags to local schools and businesses. The Auxiliary advocates for a constitutional amendment to protect the flag.
Americanism Essay Contest: For students in grades 3-12. Grade levels are divided into five classes. One award in each of the five classes will be presented in each division. Winners will receive $50, and a $50 honorarium in the student’s name will be made to the Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship fund.
We have received a few questions recently regarding the title of this year's Americanism Essay Contest..."How does learning about government and our America help you become a future guardian of the liberties of our country?"
Madam President Mary Davis and I are confident that students will welcome the challenge with a little bit of support and encouragement from teachers and parents. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide a "teachable moment" and explain the meaning of the words "guardian" and "liberties" so that students will better understand how they relate to the title. We want to be sure that younger participants are able to answer the question to the best of their abilities. Younger students will need some extra guidance. Make a game out of helping them to understand what they are being asked to write about.
The word "liberties" has many meanings but basically means the state of being free within our society from being told what to do, how to act, how we should live or our political views. A good way to present the question would be "How does your knowledge of government help you to protect our liberties?" OR "How will you work to protect our freedoms?"
The word "guardian" could be explained comparing it to one of their favorite superheroes or cartoon characters. It is a person who looks after and is responsible for someone who is disabled or can't manage their own affairs. They are just like a defender, protector, or keeper.
You might suggest trying to get a feel for what level their understanding of the word “government” is. Make sure to teach them that it goes far beyond “the President” and exists on a local level all around them. With this having been an election year, all the media exposure has led some parents to discuss what is going on with their children. We may have some surprisingly savvy 3rd and 4th graders out there!
For the younger age levels, take it one step further and reiterate this year’s theme to them. Give them time to think about it and have them write it down, not blurt out answers. That would be a wonderful way to get their wheels turning and start building a foundation for their essays.
You might want to create a handout or discuss with their teachers the best way to build this into the curriculum as well as enlisting the aid of their parents.
Our youth are creative and more intelligent than we sometimes give them credit for. Let's open up the doors to learning as well as creativity as we work together to produce some enlightening Americanism essays. EVERY student should be given the opportunity to participate.
Chair: Sue Wagner (1)
Ann Rodriquez (23)
Rhonda Redgate (1111)
Auxiliary Emergency Fund
Chair: Cathy Barger (209)
The Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF) is a national grant assistance program that provides temporary
emergency help to eligible members of the American Legion Auxiliary who have suffered a significant financial setback as the result of an act of nature or other personal crisis.
The AEF was established in 1969 with a bequest from the estate of Auxiliary member Helen Colby Small of Burlington, Wis. It continues today solely through donations from Auxiliary members.
The eligibility for the AEF is as follows. The member must be in good standing with The American Legion Auxiliary whose dues are current and who have maintained membership for three consecutive years (the current year and immediate past two years) to be eligible for assistance. The maximum grant amount is $2,400 and is dispersed as the Auxiliary Emergency Fund Grant Committee determines. All monies dispersed will go directly to the provider, not the member itself.
In our support of the community, my challenge to all American Legion Auxiliary Units this year is to do a “Penny Jar”. It’s an easy and simple concept. At each Legion Family/District event, Auxiliary would place these jars at various locations of your event and make it available for guests to drop their spare change into them. Gain points by adding pennies to your Legion Family/District jars. The jars aren’t only for pennies, so feel free to add silver coins or dollars. Every little bit helps. Please document the totals, and provide a report prior to Mid-Year Conference.
The Legion family with the most points win, but the big winner will be AEF.
Department of Alaska
Americanism Chairman - 2017-2018
WHAT IS THE PROGRAM AND WHY DO WE HAVE IT?
The Americanism program is to promote patriotism and responsible citizenship. This helps us to fulfill our brand program by giving our citizens a chance to participate in our mission by feeling patriotic and demonstrating their support in an active and visible way.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There are three different opportunities through our Plan of Action which you can use to promote Americanism. Below are ideas for each of these opportunities. Find the area that fits your unit and then work on that throughout the year. These are just suggestions and if you have other activities/ideas please feel free to use them.
1. Be knowledgeable on flag history, etiquette and proper disposal methods; and promote the observation of patriotic holidays so your community will look to the ALA for information.
- Publish the flag etiquette tips in your newspaper and on social media.
- Model respect for our flag at public events, such as sporting events.
- Visit schools to give basic facts regarding our flag, national anthem and when we stand and put our hands over our hearts at parades and ball games.
- Help to further education at schools regarding the Constitution (either whole or in part).
- Volunteer for a local patriotic event.
- Sign up to receive notifications on when to display your flag at half-staff (www.legion.org).
- Contact and ask state and federal representatives to support the flag amendment.
- Recruit others to support the flag amendment.
- Sign up for legislative action alerts.
- Vote â take family members with you.
- Assemble pocket flags to be distributed by units.
- Work with your Post to increase respect. Invite the public to participate in a flag disposal ceremony.
- Teach proper handling, displaying and respect for the American flag, and our National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Organize or participate in a patriotic holiday event.
- Encourage local businesses to fly an American flag, especially on patriotic holidays.
- Encourage members to fly an American flag at their home.
- Volunteer to maintain the area around a community flag pole.
- Provide American flags to your local schools for their classrooms.
- Order pocket flag kits and distribute to members for assembly.
- Identify and distribute assembled pocket flags to active-duty military overseas.
- Encourage members to contact state and federal representatives and ask them to support the flag amendment.
- Encourage members to participate in âGet Out The Voteâ and âKids Voting USAâ campaigns.
- Help to further education at schools regarding the Constitution (either whole or in part)
2. Increase participation in the Americanism Essay Contest. This yearâs theme is âWhat can I personally do to promote Americanism in my school or community?â
- Encourage your children/grandchildren to participate in the essay contest.
- Offer to contact schools or other organizations.
- Help judge the essays.
- Contact schools and other organizations such as Young Marines, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and 4-H about the essay contest.
- Encourage Junior members to participate in the essay contest.
- Create information packets explaining contest rules, deadline dates, theme, and award opportunities.
- Contact the essay winner and their parents. Invite the parents to bring their child to your next Auxiliary meeting to read his/her winning essay.
- Work with school administration to identify guidance counselors, history teachers, etc. whose students would be interested in participating.
- Arrange for a day with the schools (preferably during a student assembly) to present the essay winners with their prizes. Provide cash award and/or savings bond.
- Invite media to attend the event.
3. Participate in the promotion of American Legion Americanism programs.
- Support American Legion Baseball
- Help, work, donate or find donors.
- Support the Oratorical Contest
- Recruit candidates, help prepare to host a contest, be a judge, and provide refreshments or transportation.
- Support the Junior Shooting Sports, which promotes gun safety and marksmanship training for youth.
- Recruit candidates, volunteer at event.
- Work with Post and/or Department Americanism chairman.
- Support American Legion Baseball.
- Be a sponsor, volunteer, hold fundraisers, and provide transportation.
- Support the Oratorical Contest either at your Post level or Department level.
- Volunteer, host, recruit candidates.
- Support Junior Shooting Sports, which promotes gun safety and marksmanship training for youth.
- Volunteer, host, recruit candidates.
Mid-Year Reports -- Due December 5, 2017. Each Unit Americanism Chairman is required to submit a narrative report by December 5, 2017 to the Department Americanism Chairman.
Year-End Reports -- Due April 15, 2018. Each Unit Americanism Chairman is required to submit a narrative report by April 15, 2018 to the Department Americanism Chairman.
There are two parts to your reports. Once is a narrative report and the other is a statistical report.
As part of your narrative report, please include answers to the following questions:
- How did you promote the Americanism essay contest?
- How did units promote the flag program?
- How did you promote patriotic holidays?
- How did units encourage support of the flag amendment?
- Did units support American Legion Americanism programs? How?
- How did units promote Americanism in their community?
As part of your statistics report please complete the included form
Unit 33 has come up with a statistical report that provides information in a clear and concise manner. I have adjusted their report a little bit so that it can work for all units. It is an excel spreadsheet and Iâve set it up so that it will provide totals at the bottom or each column. The activities listed in the report are just ideas and you can personalize them to what your unit has actually done.
Unit Award: Dorothy Pearl Most Outstanding Americanism Program
- One unit Americanism chairman that reports the most outstanding Americanism program targeted to children and youth.
- Attach award cover sheetand including name of award, as well as name and contact information for the Unit Americanism chairman.
- Must be typewritten in narrative format, not to exceed 1,000 words.
- Include no more than five pictures and five news articles.
- Must be submitted by the Department Americanism Chairman to the National Americanism Chairman.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES YOU CAN USE
- Emblem Sales: www.emblem.legion.org - flag education DVD: explains the history, significance, meaning, proper display and treatment of the U.S. flag. Letâs Be Right on Flag Etiquette - a âquestion and answerâ booklet on proper flag etiquette.
- The American Legion Flag Advocacy: www.legion.org/flag
- The American Legionâs Action Programs of Americanism brochure: www.legion.org/publications
- Capitol Building flags: To order flags flown over the Capitol, contact your congressional representative or senator or visit his/her website. Flags are available for a nominal fee; four to six weeks should be allowed for delivery.
- Promote the Pocket Flag Project. www.pocketflagproject.com