Missouri post bringing youth resources together ahead of summer vacation

Missouri post bringing youth resources together ahead of summer vacation

Missouri Legionnaire Maria Poindexter had recently finished The American Legion Basic Training online course, which prompted her to wanting to conduct some sort of Children & Youth program – especially with summer vacation approaching.

That’s when she spoke with post leadership and then with local organizations who might have summer programs for school-aged children. That’s what led to Youth Day, which will take place May 4 at Emmette J. Shields American Legion Post 55 in Hannibal, Mo.

Poindexter, Post 55’s adjutant, said the event is free to families with children ages 18 and younger is an attempt to be a one-stop shop for parents to find programs for their children during the summer break.

“We started pulling a lot of people together,” Poindexter said. “We’ve got about 20 different organizations that are coming.”

Organizations and local businesses that will have a presence at Youth Day include the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, YMCA, the Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H, Dragonfly Valley Farms, Ruby’s Combative Sports Center and the local bowling alley.

Goats and chickens also will be present for children to pet, while the Missouri National Guard will have some of their vehicles on hand to view, while American Legion Riders Chapter 55 will have U.S. flags displayed on their motorcycles.

The post also owns the adjacent American Legion Golf Course and will be providing tours of the course to draw interest in possible post golf teams.

“As it grew, I told members of the community, ‘Just think of it as a job fair, except for kids,’” said Poindexter. “It’s a little bit for everybody.”

The post will be grilling hot dogs during the day, while Post 55’s American Legion Baseball team also will be conducting a pork steak dinner fundraiser during the event.

Poindexter has been advertising it both on social media and on the local radio and newspaper. She’s also shared information on the event within Missouri’s District 1.

And her goal is to make Youth Day an annual event. “I think next year I can definitely make it bigger,” she said. “I think we can do a lot better and a lot bigger.”