Sisters American Legion post focuses on outreach to youth
Last updated 2/28/2023 at Noon
The Sisters Post of the American Legion has a new commander. Charles White, a veteran himself, is striving to reach the youth community in Sisters.
The American Legion started in 1919 in France with World War I veterans getting together to help each other back into post-war life. The American Legion was officially chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1919. According to the American Legion national website: “Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.
“Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans, and produced many important programs for children and youth.”
Those youth programs are an essential piece of the mission for the American Legion, particularly for Charles White taking over the Sisters post. Charles White served in the U.S. Coast Guard and became a member of the American Legion originally in Illinois, before moving to Oregon and starting his position as commander in August of 2022. White has a heart for getting the youth involved, and connected with former post commander Lance Trowbridge when he moved to Sisters.
White is striving to reach out to the younger community in Sisters to let them know the opportunities, scholarships, and programs that are available to them. Youth programs include the oratorical contest, boys state and girls state, where students learn about government and democracy and for those generally interested in a field in the public service realm. There are also programs to help families and youth of military members. “We are really trying to bring in younger volunteers and participants for these programs in Sisters; as it is an older community, we want to bring in activities and opportunities for the youth,” said White.
One of the most notable programs for the youth is the American Legion oratorical contest, which is a program that strives to get high school students a deeper knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. The program has been going since 1938 and is open to students in high school under 20 years old. According to the program website: “The program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges of American citizenship.”
White is working at marketing the program to Sisters youth as an opportunity for scholarship money for college. The overall national contest winner gets a $25,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $22,500, and third gets $20,000. The American Legion’s national organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.
As a student, you or you family member does not need to be a member to apply for the programs.
To learn more about how to participate, visit https://www.legion.org/oratorical/rules.
White is working with Sisters School District and other community organizations on creating family-friendly events. The programs for students and families are available to sons and daughters and spouses of a veteran.
The American Legion helps veterans navigate returning from duty, and helps to serve the families of veterans, as well as the youth in their communities.
“The Legion also really helps veterans navigate the VA system, and if you connect with your local post, we can help you navigate the medical system and get the help you need and get the benefits information,” said White.
White has information on how to get involved, not only as a member but also as a student looking to be a part of the unique programs the Legion puts forth. White wanted to thank those in the community that help put up flags every observed holiday for veterans.
“I want to share my appreciation to those who put up flags and all those in the Sisters Post,” said White.
For more information on Legion benefits, youth programs or American Legion veteran affairs, email Charles White at commander [email protected]
You can also visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064781823365.