Camp teaches youth to be leaders

Many young people today are not afforded the opportunity to learn about the meaning of patriotism, community service, citizenship, leadership and volunteerism. It’s therefore an important responsibility of The American Legion Family to teach them these aspects of life, and the Department of Alabama and the Auxiliary are fulfilling this commitment.

For the past 51 years, Alabama Legionnaires and Auxiliary members have been helping youth become future leaders of our country with its annual four-day Leadership Camp. The camp is hosted at Rolling Hills Conference Center in Calera, Ala., and is open to young people ages 8 to 18. Cost of the camp per child is $160, which is paid for by Alabama posts and units, or by donations.

Alabama Legion Family members promote the Leadership Camp during department meetings and through newsletters that are sent to all Legion, Auxiliary and Sons members. Nearly 75 youth attend the camp each year to participate in an array of educational and interactive activities that are taught by Legion and Auxiliary members, including Alabama’s Legion state commander and Auxiliary president.

"Through cooperative efforts and service, the members and officers of the Legion Family show personal involvement to this program which makes it a success," said Gloria Haygood, a member of Auxiliary Unit 255 in Fultondale, Ala., and Alabama’s 1992-1993 department president.

Leadership Camp teaches young people about:

  • Patriotism
  • Leadership
  • Flag etiquette
  • The story of TAPS
  • The history of the Legion and the Auxiliary
  • The meaning of Blue Star and Gold Star Mothers
  • Legion youth programs such as Boys State, Girls State and Legion Baseball

They too learn how to properly fold the U.S. flag and dispose of it, conduct a Legion meeting and host a small convention. And for fun, they participate in a talent show. The youth also venture off site for a field trip to American Village in Montevallo, Ala., to learn about American history, civics and government.

"The American Legion Family has a vision for involvement of our youth in our local communities and throughout our nation," said Alabama Department Commander Ron Haygood. "The goal of this camp is to help develop our youth and teach them patriotism, volunteerism, service, image, partnership and family.

"The Legion Family can help this vision be realized as we teach the youth of today to be the leaders of our country in the future."