April showers are here, but summer is coming, and with it many opportunities for local youth to work, play and volunteer. In fact, one of the best youth events is held during the summer: Boys and Girls State Leadership Academy.

Boys and Girls State challenges young people to grow, improve and achieve; prepares them for the challenges of adulthood; teaches leadership, governance and civics in a non-partisan manner and is an all-around fun experience. To attend, the boy or girl must have: completed their junior year of high school (or equivalent for homeschoolers) and have at least one semester of high school remaining; have a history of leadership, character and service to their community; and be sponsored by an American Legion Post or Auxiliary.

This year, Boys and Girls State will happen June 16 to 22, at Western Oregon University. Information about Boys State can be found at orlegion.org/boys-state.html and Girls State at alaoregon.org/girls-state-2/girls-state.

If you know a high school junior looking for a rewarding experience this summer, encourage them to check out the website and contact their local American Legion.

These programs are made possible by the generous contributions of American Legion Posts throughout Oregon and the United States. In keeping with that spirit of generosity, our local American Legion will be holding a fundraiser to ensure that local children have an opportunity to attend.

A Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser will be held at 5 p.m., Saturday, April 13, at the Earle B. Stewart American Legion Post 16, 406 SE Oak Ave., Roseburg.

The suggested donation is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Money raised will be used to support children and youth programs of the American Legion, including Boys and Girls State.

The company will be great and the food will be even better — Douglas County Wings of Love will be working away in the kitchen to provide everyone an outstanding meal.

The VA Chaplains Quarterly Remembrance Ceremony will be held at noon, Thursday, April 18, in the Auditorium in Building 16 on the VA Roseburg Campus. The ceremony honors veterans who have recently passed and is a blessing for all who attend.

No RSVP is required and the ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information contact Chaplain Services at 541-440-1000 ext. 44723.

A Veterans Death Benefit Seminar will be held at 5 p.m., Thursday, April 18 at in the Auditorium in Building 16 on the VA Roseburg Campus. Topics include end of life planning, funeral services, locations for remains, death benefits, burial processes, funeral home details, hospice and more.

These Death Benefit Seminars offer a solid starting point for making sure your wishes are respected and that your family knows who to talk to and what to do in the event of your passing. I highly recommend you consider attending.

God bless our veterans and God bless America.

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact John McDonald at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178. He is a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service and serves in the Oregon National Guard. He is also a member of the Douglas County Veterans Forum, and the Douglas County Veterans Advisory Committee.

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