As you know, my theme as your national commander is A Foundation for the Future. That theme encompasses every mission of The American Legion, including our children and youth through our programs.
The Americanism Division held several conferences last month in Indianapolis to discuss youth programs such as Shooting Sports, Oratorical, Legion Baseball, Boys State and more. Our Junior Shooting Sports Program chairman and volunteers know that teaching young people marksmanship is just a very small part of what they do.
They’re also building confidence in these youth, providing leadership skills and teaching self-discipline. Legion Baseball chairman and coaches are doing more than teaching rules and techniques of the game as they are mentoring, teaching sportsmanship and developing good citizens.
When you consider the things that we do to mentor, coach, develop and teach, we are creating a foundation for our great organization for the future.
Please remember that you are instilling far more than just the fundamentals of your particular youth programs. You are teaching fairness, discipline, sportsmanship and good citizenship.
You do this by simply being you. Proud veterans and members of The American Legion.
Whether they express this verbally to you or not, these young people are looking at you. They are looking at you as mentors, leaders and adult role models. What you do and say matters. The people leading American Legion youth programs do far more than produce good marksmen, baseball players, orators, Scouts or civic leaders. They produce something even more valuable. They produce good Americans.
Our foundation and our future will always require great Americans.