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American Legion Auxiliary
Department of Illinois


Michelle L Woodburn

With many celebrations, we have flowers as decorations or as part of the programs. Why not incorporate a poppy? There are many ways to incorporate poppies into our everyday lives, activities, and events with your unit or Legion family. Wear and display your poppy proudly when in the community or at your unit home. Teach others about the meaning of the poppy, work on projects with your junior members, share a poppy with a veteran or at your local holiday events. It is also a great conversation starter to gain new members. By introducing veterans and their families to others with the same interest, they could potentially join our organization by providing them an opportunity to help others. You never know unless you ask!

There have been several changes to the poppy contests this year, so make sure you look at the options available. Also, the Legion commission has changed the flyer and form for the poster contest, so be looking for those updates soon.

Finally, we are adding a district poppy hat contest that will be judged at Department Convention. 

“Respect our Veterans, Conserve the Poppy, and Preserve the Memories”

The purpose of the Poppy Program is to elevate community awareness and respect for our veterans, by educating our membership and the public about the poppy's significance. Connecting the visual image of the poppy with the sacrifice of service made by our veterans has been an important goal of the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program since its inception in 1921. On National Poppy Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, millions of red poppies are distributed across the state in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities.

This year, the Junior Activities Chairman and I have expanded a few categories in order to allow both our Junior and Senior members more opportunities to showcase their creativity. All entries, with the exception of the Poppy Poem Contest will have a Unit elimination. The Poppy Poem Contest is open at ALL members and there is NO unit elimination for this contest ONLY. Also, please remember to follow ALL rules for each of the contests, including the poster contest that we will provide more details about later. I would hate to have someones work eliminated becaues they didn’t follow the rules.

The following Poppy contests will be in effect for the 2018-2019 Auxiliary year:
• Poppy Corsage
• Poppy Tray Favors
• Floral Arrangements-This category has been expanded to allow more creativity
* Hanging Floral Arrangement
* Holiday Category-any holiday of your choice
* Non-Holiday Category
* Table Floral Arrangement
* Holiday Category-any holiday of your choice
* Non-Holiday Category

• Poppy Poem Contest ALL entries sent to Dept Chairman.
o Senior Members must have all poems postmarked by April 14, 2019 to the Department Chairman
o Junior Members must have all poems received by April 1, 2019 to the Department Chairman
• Poppy Apparel
o Poppy Apparel Contest-anything EXCEPT Hat
1. You may use any type of hat or headwear and it must be decorated in good taste with the focal point being directed toward the official Illinois Poppy.
2. The design may be put on with paint, embroidery, cutouts, beads, sequins, etc.
3. The winning unit Poppy Hat should be brought to the District Convention and turned in to the District Poppy Chairman for judging. The winning district Poppy Hat should be brought to Department Convention and turned in to the Poppy Hat table outside the convention hall doors by 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning.
4. President Deb has allowed us to do a little something different this year. In true ALA Illini Girls State fashion, we will be having a “Poppy commercial” before our lunch break at Department Convention as a Fashion show of hats will be presented to the convention body. The models will be your District Presidents, so I would LOVE to have 1 hat from each district this year.
5. During the commercial break, it will be explained to the convention body that we will be having a “People’s Choice” award for the best District Hat. To vote, it will be $1 per ticket and ONLY 1 ticket per person is allowed. President Deb has indicated her desire for all proceeds will go to the VA Facilities fund. Voting will occur before and after lunch, after the closing of General Session on Thursday, as well as before opening session on Friday morning. Voting will be closed when the session reconvenes on Friday morning.
6. At the end of the Saturday Poppy report, we will have the District Presidents don their hats again, and the winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced. We will also announce the total amount collected during the voting process and the winning hat will be presented to President Deb.
7. The winning District will receive a citation as my personal award.
8. This is meant to be something fun, so get your creative juices flowing!

Winning Poppy Contest Entries
• The winning unit items for Senior members should be brought to Department Convention and turned in to the Poppy display room by 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning.
• It is the responsibility of the Unit Junior Activity Chairman or their designee to bring their winning entries to the Junior Conference and pick up all entries at the close of the Conference on April 6-7, 2019. It is also their responsibility to bring the first-place winners to Department Convention and turned in to the Poppy display room by 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning. This allows the convention body to view our winning Junior’s projects.
Little Miss and Miss Poppy Contest
We will be continuing with both Little Miss and Miss Poppy this year, as we want to help keep our older members engaged in the Auxiliary and encourage them to continue to senior membership. In recent years participation has declined for both Little Miss and Miss Poppy, so I would love to have one of each representing each of our districts this year.

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