There is a Future,
..........They are the Future,
.....................The Future is Now!


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 guMoose Youth Awareness Programestspeakers, 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 Youth Awareness Presentationthem 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, Youth Awareness Presentionand 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.


Youth AwarenessStudents 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 Membership Department at (630) 966-2214.



Jaelynn Burkamper, Earns $12,000 Scholarship
as Moose International's 2012 Youth Awareness Congress Winner

Click Photos to Enlarge
Jaelynn Burkamper,
Emilee Garrett,
Anna Maria Marini,
Alexa Schwichow, ILLINOIS,
Lexi Loccisano, FLORIDA,


MOOSEHEART, May 24 - Start spreading the news: "Super J" took her cape and tights to Gotham and came back with first-place in the Moose Youth Awareness Congress in her utility belt.


"Super J" is Jaelynn Burkamper, a junior from Boone, IA, who took first place and earned a $12,000 scholarship at the recent Congress, which was sponsored by the New York State Moose Association and took place in White Plains, NY. Burkamper said like all participants, she had hopes of being one of the five scholarship winners as the names started to be read.


"Of course, in your heart, you hope 'maybe it's going to be me,' " Burkamper said. "After third place, you start to think 'I don't think we did it this year, but there are a lot of people here who are deserving of it. Then a lot of people started to turn to look at me and say 'don't you think it's you?' And then they said 'the first place winner is' - and I just started crying."


The Moose Youth Awareness Student Congress is a gathering of children who have given a series of "Moose KidsTalks" about some topic in order to help children aged 4-through-9 to make positive choices in their lives. The Congress consisted of young men and women from across the U.S. and Canada in addition to Mooseheart representatives.


A total of five scholarships are awarded each year. In addition to Burkamper, the other scholarship winners were:


Second place: Emilee Garrett, Michigan, $8,000 scholarship

Third place: Anna Maria Marini, Connecticut, $5,000 scholarship

Fourth Place: Alexa Schwichow, Illinois, $3,000 scholarship

Fifth place: Lexi Loccisano, Florida, $2,000 scholarship


Burkamper performed an incredible 20 Moose KidsTalks through 2011-12 as "Super J" - who visited every second-, third- and fourth-grade in her area in an effort to get those students to realize their superpowers.


"We talked about how superheroes have to believe in themselves and be confident," Burkamper said. "We talked about how we all have superpowers. I got asked a lot if I could fly. I said that maybe we can't fly. But maybe you love drawing -- and that is one of your superpowers."


If she can't fly, just what are Super J's superpowers?


"Having super confidence and super strength to do super things," Burkamper, who said that while dressed as a superhero, she asked the children to become part of her super crew.


"After my talk, I asked the kids to come up with their own list of things that they could do using their super powers," Burkamper said.


To reach the number of students she did through her KidsTalks required some sacrifices. An excellent student, Burkamper took over a week off school.


"It did take some extra work and some hours had to be put in to make up the homework," Burkamper said. "But I did some of it before I started giving the talks so I'd be prepared."


Burkamper was a participant in the 2011 Youth Awareness Congress on Charlotte, NC, and the high school junior said the experience was beneficial - and not just in terms of what topic she chose. While scholarships are awarded, the Congress is annually marked by how students who are strangers when they arrive become friends before they go home. This year's Congress included a day trip to New York City, which fulfilled a dream for Burkamper.


"I loved North Carolina, but I've always wanted to go to New York," she said. "I'd love to go to college there."


Receiving the scholarship for winning was important, but Burkamper added that she has gained much by participating twice in the Congress and she hopes to return in 2013, when the Congress will be held in the Chicago area.


"Of course $12,000 is a ton of money, but it's just a small part when you think of how much I've gotten out of the program," she said. "I have met so many people. I am constantly talking to those people on Facebook. I have many friends from other states and you're not going to get that from any other camp or a weekend long thing."


The amount of the scholarship is significant, however. Burkamper said not long after returning from the Congress, her high school had an assembly at which they read the scholarships received by students.


"You'd hear them say $100 or $500 or even $1,000 - and everything helps," Burkamper said. "But it's really hard for me to get $12,000 in my head. Obviously it doesn't pay for everything. But I'm only a junior and this is the start."


In the coming year, one of Burkamper's goals is to raise awareness of the KidsTalks program within Iowa. She said she also plans to participate in the program again.


"Hopefully I'll be lucky enough to be at the International Congress in Chicago," she said. "Mooseheart is something that I've just been introduced to. I'd be really excited to have a chance to see that."






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