With nearly 22 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces living among us, chances are good that at least one of these American heroes is a family member or close friend of you or someone in your Scouting unit.
Though these men and women deserve our recognition and thanks every day, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, the official day during which we remember our veterans.
With Scouting’s excellent relationship with the military, thousands of packs, troops, teams, and crews across the country have been and will be taking time to recognize veterans in their community all week. What’s your unit’s plan? If you’re still looking for ideas, Scouting magazine is here to help.
Have your Scouts write a letter to a veteran
Here are some tips on how to do it right:
- Remain positive. Some veterans are sick or under a lot of stress. They’d love to hear happy stories about what you’re doing.
- Remember that veterans may be men or women, old or young, and of all ethnic backgrounds when writing your letter.
- Be creative! Draw pictures or send photographs of your school, Scout activities, or favorite things from home.
- Say “thank you” for their service, and let them know why you think patriotism is important.
- Write stories about your family, Scouting unit, school, and other things that you do.
- You can even make it fun by sharing your favorite jokes!
- Ask who you’re writing if he or she used to be a Scout or Venturer.
Invite a veteran to speak to your unit
Many veterans would feel honored when asked to come speak to your unit about their experiences serving our country.
To find an interested veteran, try contacting a veterans group chapter or VA hospital in your area. This facility locator should help you get started.
Hold special activities at your next meeting
Take a moment to remember veterans at your meeting, even if you aren’t inviting a veteran to speak to your unit.
This Teachers Guide (link opens PowerPoint) was prepared by the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically for school classrooms, but there are clear applications for a unit leader looking to design an activity for younger or old boys.
Have a Scout recite a Veterans Day speech
A simple way to honor this special day might be to ask one of your Scouts to recite all or part of a Veterans Day speech given by a president or other top official.
You’ll find dozens of speeches available on the VA’s site, including ones by Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Gerald R. Ford, the only president who was an Eagle Scout.
Have any more ideas? Let us know in the comments section below. And because we can never say it enough: Thank you, veterans!