There Is A Future
Can teenagers persuade younger children to make positive choices in life? "YES!" say the teens and adults who work together in the MOOSE YOUTH AWARENESS PROGRAM. For more than 20 years, we have organized high school students into a highly effective "speakers' bureau" with the goal of educating preschool and elementary school children on a variety of topics, such as drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, "stranger danger", bullying and peer pressure and healthy habits and nutrition.
More than 1,000 energetic teens gathered last year at State and Provincial Moose Association Student Congresses throughout the United States and Canada. They listened to guest-speakers, exchanged ideas and used their creativity to help themselves and other deal with adverse elements in their own communities. Many students revealed experiences in their own lives, which drove them to help in preventing future tragedies. Some of the students who attended these Congresses were already leaders in school or community youth programs; some became leaders as a result of the knowledge and experience they gained at the Congresses.
At the Association Student Congresses, students focus on creating Moose KidsTalks, which are presentations to be given to 4-9 year-olds in their communities. While adults provided real world experiences and inspiration, the students developed their own ideas for their Moose KidsTalks. They found ways to empower children to make healthy choices and resist danger, and went home determined to put them to practice.
The best part of Moose KidsTalks presentations is the lengths to which the teens will extend their creativity. Some use costumes and actually take on alternate personas; some use props, pictures, puppets or coloring books;some use skits or other avenues to make their presentations interactive for the audience. As their experience as a presenter grows, so does their ability to hold the children's attention.
They Are The Future
Annually, we ask school officials across North America to recommend two high school students to attend Association Student Congresses, which are held in October and November each year.
Students are selected based on academic ability and leadership qualities. They are challenged to become a "speakers' bureau" utilizing Moose KidsTalks. Each participant selects a topic and develops a presentation around that topic. They are then responsible for finding opportunities to speak to groups of 4 to 9- year-old children in scouting units, elementary schools, Sunday School classes, Boys' and Girls' Clubs and YMCA youth programs just to name a few. Each student is asked to do a minimum of three (3) Moose KidsTalks from the end of the Association Student Congress through the end of February each year. They are also asked to complete written reports on these presentations.
Each year, approximately 60 students, who attended Association Student Congresses and completed the minimum of three (3) Moose KidsTalks, are selected by their peers to attend the International Student Congress. During the International Congress, five students will be selected by their peers to receive scholarships. The awards are:
- 1st Place - $12,000
- 2nd Place - $8,000
- 3rd Place - $5,000
- 4th Place - $3,000
- 5th Place - $2,000
The Future Is Now
The Moose Youth Awareness Program has a bright future. Through Moose KidsTalks presentations to small groups of 4 to 9-year-olds, our participants can inspire the children in their local communities to make healthy decisions and to avoid adverse situations. In fact, the voices of those students who have attended Association and International Student Congresses during the last 15 years have reached an audience of more than 700,000.
Our Lodges, Chapters, Moose Legions and Moose Associations also support many other outstanding local and state programs that benefit children. Our fraternal leaders are dedicated to this most worthwhile program that affects youths all over North America. The Moose Youth Awareness Program reaffirms our commitment to providing today for a better tomorrow.
The future rests in the hands, hearts and minds of our children. Without a doubt, members of the Loyal Order of Moose and co-workers of the Women of the Moose will continue to provide assistance to make our communities better places for families to live and for children to grow.
For more information on the Moose Youth Awareness Program, please contact the Moose International Department of Fraternal Programs at (630) 966-2224.