Guest blog by Amanda Washburn, National Junior Activities Northwestern Division Chairman
The summer months can be one of the hardest times of the year to keep Juniors active with projects. Juniors are out of school and ready to enjoy the sunshine. Their families take vacations and the Junior members are participating in sports and other activities. While the girls are very busy, it is important to keep them engaged in our programs. Here are some great ideas for Junior leaders to keep their younger members working hard for our veterans and active-duty service members:
- Hold a bake sale and/or a lemonade stand in your town hosted by the Juniors and the local ALA. The girls are able to raise money for a program and get the ALA name out in the community.
- Have the Juniors volunteer at local nursing homes, veterans homes, and veterans medical centers. They can play bingo, put together puzzles, take the residents for a walk around the facility, or just talk to them. The residents in the facilities love having someone show they care about them. These volunteer hours can be used as community service or service to veterans hours.
- Check with your department’s Service to Veterans chairman to see if there are any spots available to make tray favors or centerpieces for the veterans homes and medical centers. This is an excellent way to create a fun summer craft and a way to brighten a veteran’s day. Check out Pinterest and other sites for ideas.
- Have days planned where Juniors and younger Sons of The American Legion members can work together to earn patches. The patch program is great for Junior members and younger Sons members who are busy and cannot help with other projects. Each patch helps to explain one of the ALA’s projects and helps to share our mission with the younger Sons members.
- Invite the Junior members to attend the Department ALA Convention in your state. Talk with the department president and ask if they could use the girls as special pages, flag bearers, or in any other way during the Convention.
- Have a fun day with the Juniors. Take them bowling, putt-putt golfing, laser tagging, go-kart racing, swimming, to a baseball game, or any other fun activity. The girls will love spending time together and they will tell their friends about the fun event and encourage them to join the ALA.
There are so many ways to use the summer months to keep the girls active. Holding meetings can sometimes be impossible, so use these ideas to bridge the gap and keep the girls interested. Ask the Juniors what they would like to do for projects. They have such great ideas and know what each other likes to do. Even though summer can be one of the busiest times for everyone, try to get together once a month to keep their enthusiasm for helping veterans grow all year long.
Whatever you do with your Juniors, be sure to take lots of pictures of them in branded ALA attire. Share those pictures on social media and with your local news outlets to help spread the word about the great work the ALA and our Junior members are doing.
This was originally published as an eBulletin.