Legions throughout Ontario Command sponsor youth programs that include sports, cadet corps, scouts, leadership training and remembrance activities. It is our aim to help youth learn an appreciation for teamwork, leadership, duty and most importantly, Remembrance.
Legions believe educating our youth on the high cost of their freedom is one of our most important roles in Ontario today. We must impress upon young people who have never known war, that freedom was won at the cost of many lives; young lives like their own. Our annual poster, literary and Public Speaking contests with a Remembrance theme, help focus the attention of the participants on those who gave all for the freedom we enjoy.
Ontario Command participates in the biannual Pilgrimage of Remembrance. This program, organized by our Dominion Command, uses veterans and other Legion dignitaries as guides for tours of WWI and WWII battlefields and cemeteries.
Some of the most popular youth programs are the multitude of sports programs run by Ontario Command Branches. Sports activities such as hockey teams and leagues, baseball, softball, soccer, swimming, figure skating and lacrosse are among the programs supported by our branches.
Each year, many branches co-ordinate track and field programs. These programs allow young athletes to participate in many events and to complete with other athletes at District meets, and at Provincial levels in one of the Legion's semi-annual provincial meets.
Legions in Ontario Command help to promote patriotism, leadership and an awareness of duty by sponsoring youth groups such as scouts, navy league and sea, army and air cadets. The Legion, through our local branches, also sponsors the Cadet Medal of Excellence. This medal is awarded to outstanding young men and women who participate in cadet programs.
Ontario Command branches are encouraged to support the Encounters With Canada program, that brings together students from across the country for a week of Canadian studies and activities at the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa. More than 3,000 young people from across Canada participate in this excellent program.
Legions throughout Ontario Command sponsor bursaries for high school, college and university students. Our branches also pool funds with Ladies' Auxiliaries through our Ontario Command Branches and Ladies' Auxiliaries Charitable Foundation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in bursaries are awarded each year through the Charitable Foundation.