Youth recognized at buffet dinner

Published 11:25 am Saturday, July 28, 2018


The Charles R. Younts American Legion Post 73 in Franklin hosted a buffet dinner in honor of local youth who have participated in the Christian-based, patriotic youth programs sponsored by the American Legion. Some of the young participants were present on Tuesday night to celebrate their accomplishments with friends and family as well as share their experiences while participating in the programs.

Trevon Bellamy of Franklin High School, Richard Byrd of Southampton Academy and Clifford Fox, also of Southampton Academy were recognized for participating in Boys State. Avery Pope and Megan Purvis of Southampton Academy; Hannah Cord, Hannah Dodson and Alyssa Geary, all of Southampton High School; and Cassie Robertson of Greensville High School were recognized for participating in Girls State. Joshua Johnson of Franklin High School was recognized for participating in the Police Academy Youth Cadet Law Enforcement program.

The American Legion Boys State was founded in 1935 in order to counter the fascist-inspired Young Pioneer Camps. It is a leadership action program whose purpose is to develop civic leadership and pride in American citizenship, to arouse a keen interest in the detailed study of government, to develop in the citizens a determination to maintain the form of government, to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation and to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy. Following Boys State, the American Legion Auxiliary formed the Girls State program in 1937 with the similar principles and activities. In these two programs, young men and women spend a week to learn about the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a citizen through creating a mock legislature, submit bills and resolutions, participating in senate sessions, learning about American history through tours in Washington, D.C., meeting U.S. Senators and representatives, and holding national conventions and elections.

The Police Academy Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program gives its participants a glimpse of how law enforcement agencies operate. Both male and female high school students that participate in the program undergo physical fitness training, classroom instruction, and hands-on training. The program includes instruction on criminal law, constitutional law, patrol procedures, criminal investigation procedures, traffic crash investigation, evidence gathering techniques, arrest techniques, taking fingerprints, testifying in court, public speaking, leadership skills, vehicle operating procedures, report writing, interviewing techniques, crisis intervention, use of control and firearms training.

Jean Cannon recognized the Girls State participants, while David Scott Recognized the Boys State and the Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program participants. Both members of the American Legion said they believe that these programs will definitely benefit the lives of young people.

“I believe every young person needs to know about how our government functions,” Scott said, “After all, the government is ‘by the people.’ It is their government, and thus, they must know how it works. Besides, they may very well be a functioning part of it some day.”

Cannon explained why it’s important for young women to learn about government.

“It makes them aware of what is happening around them so they can do the most to make our country great in the future. Plus, it’s an opportunity for them to become better citizens whether it’s serving in the government or in public office.”

The programs are free of charge, and participants of these three programs must be high school students who have completed their junior year of high school, are in good academic standing and be of good moral character and a desire to learn.