BERWYN – A herd of 55 Moose calves from the U.S. and Canada rumbled into Berwyn Moose Lodge 424 for a much-deserved feeding May 5.
It was the ending of the Moose International Youth Awareness Congress held May 2-6, that brings high school students for a five-day all-expenses-paid trip to discuss, and vote on, presentions each of the students had given over the past year to children ages 4 to 9, on subjects ranging from Internet safety and nutrition to bullying. The congress is run by the students only.
The students set out between January and March to make their presentations and submit their program to the association coordinators. The programs were then turned over to a local youth group who grades them and selects a winner.
At stake are five cash scholarships worth a total of $30,000 for a college education.
North Riverside resident Scot Baikie, past Governor of the Moose, said the program has been going on for 25 years. In the fall, the Moose Association holds Youth Congresses at lodges across North America where speakers from government, law enforcement, and other organizations talk about their experiences. The students are also explained the rules of the program and how to put together a presentation that they will deliver to children in schools, church groups or other youth-oriented organizations.
The kids talk on all kinds of safety-related subjects and have to give talks to at least three groups.
“Most student will do anywhere between 15 and 20 youth talks,” Baikie said. “It’s not like thy can just do one report and get on this trip. They really have to work for it.”
Before the dinner in Berwyn, the students met to give their presentations to the group to select the winners.
For many of the students, the journey is a reward in itself. They flew into Chicago May 2 and were set up in Lisle. On Friday, they met to discuss the upcoming meeting and the itinerary for the days to follow. Saturday was a fun day in the Chicago, where they visited the Chicago museum campus, went shopping on the Magnificent Mile and were on their own to pick any Chicago specialty for lunch. On the way home, there was a stop to the River Grove Moose Lodge for dinner.
Baikie said there are a lot of students out there that are interested in participating.
“The students enjoy the chance to win a lot of money for their education,” he said. “For many, it’s a lifetime event. The friendships they make are amazing.”