"To build character among the young and to pursue educational, patriotic, social and athletic recreation." Those are the goals of the statewide SPJST Youth Program. SPJST's youth program is a cooperative effort that reflects the great potential of SPJST - young and old - working together to achieve common goals and enjoying life together.
On an annual basis, youth clubs from more than 35 lodges across the state sponsor a wide range of social activities, community service projects, and charity projects. It's about having fun, but it's also about contributing to the welfare of the people of Texas. The youth program is coordinated by the State Youth Director who works closely with seven District Youth Counselors (DYC) who are elected by each district. In addition, the program relies on the support of approximately 70 youth leaders and numerous parents who volunteer their time to support the program.
The educational aspect of the SPJST Youth Program is an integral part of local youth club activities. State and local programs address a range of areas, including human relations, nature, parliamentary procedure, juvenile decency, arts and crafts, fine arts, music, dramatics, and ethnic tradition. Youth club members range from kindergarten to high school senior.
The patriotic program consists of ceremonial rituals and an annual essay contest. The objective is to teach the operation of a free democratic society and majority rule. The social program includes parties, dances, picnics, pageants, hay rides, and family group activities.
SPJST also makes summer camping trips available to its active young members. Approximately 350 youngsters attend every year. To qualify for the free camp session, campers must must attend a majority of youth club meetings (June through May) in the months preceding camp. SPJST youth can also attend camp for a fee determined by the District Youth Counselor. Contact your DYC for the fee.
Youth camp funds come from an annual allocation made by the SPJST Supreme Lodge. Professionals are hired for instruction in archery, aquatics, horsemanship and as camp nurse. Much of the chaperoning and programming is done by parents and SPJST trained leaders. Typically, adult leaders receive training at an annual workshop held in the spring. A second workshop for high school youth club members is conducted during the second weekend in June.
State Youth Achievement Day
In addition to the camp program, SPJST offers its young people a program which encourages participation in various individual and group contests. The program culminates with State Youth Achievement Day, held on a statewide basis on the first Saturday in August. The crowning moment of SPJST's royalty competition is the coronation of the king and queen who are selected on the basis of a speech during which they are scored on speech content and delivery, stage presence, and an onstage interview. All of the individuals who compete for the honor are winners in their own right, having been selected to represent their respective districts as king and queen candidates.
More than 500 young people and adults from across the state participate in SPJST State Youth Achievement Day (YAD) at the Frank W. Mayborn Convention Center in Temple, Texas every year. The competition covers talent, speech, and handicrafts.