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An Americanism summer

An Americanism summer

Summer for The American Legion and its youth signifies several weeks filled with education, leadership, competition, character development and teamwork. It’s during these warm months that three of the Legion’s national-level top-notch youth programs get underway: Boys Nation, Junior 3-Position Air-Rifle National Championship and Legion Baseball World Series.

On July 18, The American Legion and 98 Boys Nation senators celebrated the program’s 68th year in Washington, D.C. The weeklong program educated the young men on the structure and function of the federal government while providing the senators an opportunity to visit historical landmarks around the Washington area. The delegates conducted senate sessions and party conventions, elected a president and vice president, voted on bills and heard from special guests, such as Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin. The young men also visited the National Mall and the Pentagon, met with their state senator, shook hands with President Barack Obama and had dinner at an American Legion post with National Commander Daniel Dellinger. Matthew Ellow of Lacey’s Spring, Ala., was elected Boys Nation president and Louis Lombardo of Arlington, Texas, was elected Boys Nation vice president. Learn more: www.legion.org/boysnation

On Aug. 2, the Legion crowned a precision and sporter champion during its 24th annual Junior 3-Position Air Rifle National Championship at the USA Shooting Range Facilities at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. During the event, 30 competitors entered in either the precision or sporter category and shot with a .177 caliber air rifle in the prone, kneeling and standing position. Antonio "Andre" Gross of Webster, N.Y., won the sporter category and Michael Steinel of New Philadelphia, Ohio, won the precision category. Each winner received a $5,000 scholarship funded by The American Legion and the Sons of The American Legion. Learn more: www.legion.org/shooting

On Aug. 14, the 89th American Legion Baseball World Series swings into action in Shelby, N.C., with the top eight regional teams competing for the championship title. Fans unable to attend the World Series will have the ability to watch all games leading up to the championship game live on ESPN3.com. Now, starting with the 2014 ALWS, viewership will reach 80 million over the next five years – the championship game will be televised live for the first time in 35 years, by ESPNU. This deal is a result of the perseverance and commitment of all involved to maintain American Legion Baseball’s reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur baseball programs in the world.

Since Shelby became the permanent home of the American Legion Baseball World Series in 2011, records have been set annually with paid attendance and ESPN3.com viewership. Total paid attendance for the 15-game 2013 ALWS was 104,726, eclipsing the 2012 record of 101,925 and the 2011 record of 86,000. Learn more: www.legion.org/baseball

The Legion’s youth programs build tomorrow’s leaders and help young adults better understand and honor the many sacrifices veterans made and active servicemembers continue to make.