As we start a new year, I would like to introduce some programs for Wilton’s youth that the American Legion offers.

The first is the Legion Oratorical Contest. The contest is a “constitutional speech contest.” This is open to all high school students, grades 9-12 of any local school, under the age of 20. The student must be enrolled in such school as of the date of the contest at any level. The contest consists of two parts. The first is a self-chosen topic on some phase of the American constitution. The speech must be eight to 10 minutes long (points are deducted for shorter or longer times). The second part is a three- to five-minute speech on a chosen topic. For more information go to: https://www.legion.org/oratorical/rules.

The next program is the Legion Boys State and Legion Auxiliary Girls State. Although we do not have an auxiliary in Wilton yet, we can direct you to one that will sponsor any young ladies interested in attending. Each of these programs focuses on government instruction for high school students. Eligibility is limited to high school juniors still enrolled in school as of the date of the National Boys Nation. Here at Boys/Girls State, the students learn the rights, responsibilities and privileges of city, county and state government. Prominent attendees include President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Senators Joseph Lieberman and Chris Murphy, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Jordan. For more information on Boys State, go to http://bit.ly/2DpUjEW; for Girls State: http://bit.ly/2DpiC5S.

American Legion baseball is well known to those who follow local sports teams. Wilton was one of a limited number of posts that sponsored three levels of ball: senior, junior and prep teams. More than half of major league players participated in Legion ball, and today there are over 4,000 teams playing all over the country! A player may try out with the team within the closest driving distance. The great part of Legion ball is that if a player is cut, he may try out with the team next closest, and so on, so there is ample opportunity to play for all. Youngsters born between 1999 and 2005 are eligible to play in 2018. For more information go to: thewbsa.com.

Post 86 also sponsors the Captain Sam Polis Scholarship Award at Wilton High School. The qualifications include a student that will attend an institution of higher learning in a trade or technical field. Past recipients have attended culinary school, art design, plumbing and nursing schools. See Sue Mangan at the high school for more information.

Post 86 also sponsors Legion School Awards, given to a young man and woman from any school in Wilton that wishes to participate. Courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, loyalty, perseverance, honesty, trustworthiness, and a willingness to help others on their own initiative are qualities we look for in these students.

These are some of the programs offered by Post 86. For further information, contact Tom Moore at legionpost86@gmail.com and check out our website at post86legion.org.

Tom Moore, Adjutant

American Legion Post 86