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American Legion Auxiliary
Department of Illinois

Junior Activities

Tina Abdelnour

To go along with President Janet’s theme of “Hugs for Heroes”, and the Junior’s being known as “Cubs” their theme will be “Junior Cubs reaching out to our veterans with hugs of gratitude for their freedom”. I will be encouraging all our Senior members to help bring together and work with all of our Junior Cubs. Think of all of you as being their mama bears. As a mama bear help to guide them and encourage them to be part of our organization and of our programs. Start teaching them step by step on how each program works. Ask them for some ideas, you might be surprised with what they will come up with. Give them a chance to be involved in the entire development of a project. From the decision on what type of project to do to how the project will be completed. I am encouraging all Units, District and Divisions that have Junior groups to embrace this theme. Do activities that will encourage and teach the Juniors how important they are to this organization and to the welfare of our Veterans, military, military families, and their surrounding community. Unless we take the time now to do this, our future as an organization may not be very bright. The younger you can start a child in helping others and doing volunteer work, the higher the chance that when they become adults, they will continue to do volunteer work. That is because it has become second nature to them, and they won’t think twice about jumping in to help. Also, when working with the Juniors on a project and they give you a suggestion, absolutely, positively do not ever just dismiss their suggestion or say, “that won’t work” and walk away. This will discourage them from participating. Instead, tell them “That is a great suggestion, but this is why it won’t work ………………, do you have any other suggestion”. This way, they know you did listen to what they said and are still interested other ideas they may have. Remember, just because your Unit has always done something a certain way or because you tried something one time doesn’t mean it can’t change with the times or a new idea that wasn’t thought of before might fix the problem.

If your Units or Districts do not have an active Juniors group, still find out who your Juniors are and get them to participate. You do not have to have an organized group to get your Juniors involved or for them to work the Patch Program. During this coming year please encourage your Juniors to work on their Junior patch programs. If you have not looked at the Patch Program, please do so, it has great ideas on projects you can do with your Juniors. You can get all the patch requirements from the National Website. Juniors are our future. The patch programs help to train our Juniors on our various programs. So, by the time they become Seniors, they already have an idea what the organization and all the programs are about. Remember, without them, there will be no American Legion Auxiliary in the future to help our Veterans. I was very happy to see an increase in Juniors working the Patch Program last year. We even had an SAL junior member earn a patch. I would love to see another increase again this year.

We will be once again holding 3 Junior Conferences: March 25th – Fairfield Unit 176 (5th Div) April 22nd – Arlington Heights Unit 208 (1st Div) April 29th – Washington Unit 100 (3rd Div)
We will also be holding elections the same way we did this past year. All Juniors who are interested in holding the position of either Honorary Junior President or Honorary Junior Vice President are to submit a campaign video. The deadline for the videos is Wednesday, March 1st. They are to make this video as much fun as possible. The videos and voting will be done at each location. The winner will not be announced until after the last conference. Once again there will be no campaigning on the day of the Junior Conferences to make this fair for all candidates. They can do as much campaigning as they want leading up to the day before each Conference. This year’s Honorary Junior President is Hailey Sullivan from the Arlington Heights Unit 208, and the Honorary Junior Vice President is also from the Arlington Heights Unit 208.

This year we also have a junior member who has filed her intent to run for the National Central Division Honorary Vice President position. That is the 2021-2022 Past Department Honorary Junior President Hayden Freeman. So, if you see her, wish her luck.

Now, for us to have a great Junior Convention, we need to be able to keep the cost of the conventions down. By doing the three conferences this helps to cut down on the cost of hotels. This will help more Juniors to be able to attend since it is just a one-day event near most of them. Not all Juniors can afford the hotel stay. There are still other costs involved in putting on these conferences that we do need to raise money for so that we don’t have to charge the Juniors to attend. I would like to ask the board for permission to hold a fundraiser at the 2022 Patriotic Conference. To all the Units, District and Divisions that have a Junior group, I encourage you to find ways to help your Juniors to raise money towards the Junior Conference if they do need to stay in a hotel. This may help some of the girls who don’t normally have the money to come to have a chance to come. If you check around, you may find that you have a lot more Juniors that want to attend than you know of. Once again, I am challenging every District to have at least 5 Juniors attend the Junior Conference. The Juniors can attend any of the Junior Conferences they choose. If they can’t make the one near them due to the date, they can attend any of the other ones.

Department Chairmen that have Junior Contests, please mail or email me your Contest rules by November 1st so that I can include them in my program. This year all Junior Contests will be taking place.

This year at the 2023 Department Convention I will be giving out some awards. They are as follows:

The Department award will be:

Deb’s Zoo Crew Plaque – to the Unit for the best overall participation in the Junior Activities Program.

My Personal Awards will be:

$5 to the Unit that has the most patches earned by their Juniors from 08/01/2022 thru May 31, 2022.

$5 to the Unit sending in the most pictures of their Junior Activities

$5 to the district with the most Juniors attending a Junior Conference

$5 to the district with the most Juniors with contest entries at Junior Conference.

I know that with everyone’s help this will be a wonderful year for our Cubs. Remember they are our future for this organization. If we don’t make this a good experience for them now, the chances are that their future won’t include being a part of our organization.

Resources from National

Log into the National website to access these items
  • Junior Activities Handbook
  • Junior Leadership Course Materials
  • Junior Patch Program Level 1: Red K - 3rd Grade
  • Junior Patch Program Level 2: Gold 4th - 8th Grade
  • Junior Patch Program Level 3: Blue 9th - 12th Grade

Department Resources

Junior Rules and Awards Junior Poppy Contest Rules Poppy Judge Responsibilities Little Miss and Miss Poppy Contest Junior Conference 2023 Details