- To build national pride
- Advance patriotism
- Promote US citizenship
- Educate young people (mentally & physically alike)
- Promote the US Constitution
- To counter threats to freedom, democracy, law, and order
Many moral and patriotic values have come under attack in the United States. Prayer has been removed from schools, the U.S. flag is no longer protected from radicals and the reference to God has been challenged on our currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance. The American Legion is dedicated to God and country, with a membership of military veterans that take pride in the U.S. flag and all it means. The American Legion programs educate our youth in what it means to be devoted to law and order, respectful observance of patriotic holidays and remembrances, education, and law-abiding citizenship.
Community outreach programs like the American Legion Boys & Girls State program, Oratorical Contest, American Legion Baseball and Boys Scouts of America establish strong ties within our community. The young people of today will be the leaders of tomorrow …making important decisions that may affect all of us and our future armed forces.
California American Legion Boys & Girls State Program
The Boys & Girls State program began in 1937 and is held in each of the U.S. states. The American Legion Boys & Girls State program is a summer leadership and citizenship program for high school juniors. Delegates are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties, and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The program focuses on exploring the mechanics of American government and politics and teaches how the political system & procedures work by negotiating and bartering. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus, and recreational programs.
- knowledge of democracy
- teaches the democratic process by establishing City and County governments.
- The delegates also campaign for legislative offices.
High School Counselors nominate candidates their junior year. The American Legion California Boys & Girls State program is held each year in Sacramento, California in June. This is a one weeklong program in Sacramento for a about 800 delegates sponsored by American Legion Posts throughout California.
For additional information, please see the California Boys & Girls State webpage at California Boys State (boysstatecalifornia.org)
Three recent delegates sponsored by American Legion, Post 291, Newport Beach were selected to Boys Nation, and two of them became the Boys Nation President, 2018 Joshua Cheadle and 2021 Ryan Jung. Boys State / Boys Nation | The American Legion
Famous alumni of the Boys State program include Tom Brokaw, Bill Clinton, Neil Armstrong, Mike Huckabee, Michael Jordan, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Wahlberg, George Pataki, and Harry Reid.
Oratorical Contest – Scholarship Program
The American Legion High School Oratorical Contest is a program of the American Legion that gives all high school students the opportunity to compete for college scholarships in a “Constitutional Speech Contest.” This program started in 1937.
High school students cultivate their communication skills as they develop deeper knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Participants grow in leadership ability, their capacity to think and speak clearly and intelligently and understanding of the rights, responsibilities, obligations, and privileges of U.S. citizens. Participants must be High School students, under the age of 20 years old and citizens of the United States.
The program focuses on aspects of the Constitution, with emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. The assigned topics each year can be found at Oratorical Contest Assigned Topics | The American Legion
There are two parts to the contest at the Post level-
- Part one – the contestants must deliver their prepared speech (no note cards are allowed) to the judges and audience. The speech must be between 8-10 minutes.
- Part two – five minutes before the start of the assigned topic discourse, one at a time, the contestant receives a note card with an assigned subject. No outside information such as cellphone or the internet can be used. They have 5 minutes to prepare for the assigned oration, which must be between 3-5 minutes.
All contestants must give their prepared speech and the assigned topic discourse to receive the scholarship monies.
Post winners move to Area competitions, then to the Department Oratorical finals and on to the National High School Oratorical Contest. Scholarships are awarded to three finalists, 1st place receives $ 25,000, second gets $22,500 and 3rd takes home $ 20,000.
For additional information, please see website Oratorical Contest | The American Legion (www.legion.org/oratorical )
Orange County American Legion Baseball
Did you know that many of the greatest names in baseball spent their teenage summers in American Legion Baseball uniforms? Hall of Famers such as Dave Winfield, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson and Stan Musial still speak of the influence Legion ball had on their lives and careers.
Each year, nearly 100,000 athletes participate in American Legion Baseball, the nation’s oldest and most respected amateur baseball program. Posts sponsor teams in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, giving young men wholesome, healthy activity and lessons in sportsmanship, loyalty, and respect for rules and fair play. www.legion.org/baseball
Orange County American Legion baseball gives players an opportunity to develop their skills, personal fitness, leadership qualities and teaches sportsmanship, patience, discipline, focus, and how to build friendships. The baseball season if from May – July each year. Orange County had three teams for the 2022 season. Post 291 sponsored the Southern California Eagles (Calvary HS). We hope to sponsor a team in 2023 and would love to see you at the games to cheer them on to victory.
Boys Scouts of America
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheer, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
The Boy Scouts of America provide the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
For additional information, please see the Orange County Boy Scout webpage at Home – Orange County Council (ocbsa.org)
Donations to the Americanism programs
Your support is greatly appreciated. You can donate to these programs by using the button below. Using the drop-down arrow, chose the Americanism Programs line. To specify which Americanism program, you would like to donate your contribution to, please add a note in box ‘+ Write a note (Optional), Boys & Girls State program, Oratorical, Orange County Baseball, Boys Scouts of America or where it is needed most.
It is my honor and pleasure along with a long list of other Post 291 Legionnaires and others who volunteer and support these programs to service the youth of Orange County.