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Lawn Post 990 would like to see more groups around the peninsula again
As a youth growing up in Lawn in the 1980s, Lori Strang has fond memories of AY.
For those who don't know, AY stands for Allied Youth, and for many years, the international organization had a strong base in schools around the Burin Peninsula.
Ms. Strang would like to see it that way again.
Along with Anna Hennebury, also a former Lawn member, the two re-formed the dormant Allied Youth Post 990 at Holy Name of Mary Academy in September and both serve as advisors.
Ms. Strang said the Lawn group was still active when she moved back to the area around three or four years ago, but it wasn't very strong and eventually folded. The reformed post now has about 15 members.
Across the province, the organization is roughly 800 strong with some 20 posts. AY is open to students from grades 7-12, but isn't always necessarily school based.
Ms. Strang explained Allied Youth aims to help young people increase awareness of issues facing youth today and try to the best of their abilities to improve themselves and their communities.
"I have been trying to talk it up a little wherever I see someone from outside the community, especially if they were in Allied Youth. It was a good time when I was in it. It was a very positive time in AY.
"They kind of just stop and go back for a minute, ‘Oh yeah, AY!' and you see a little smile on their face."
Allied Youth was formed in the United States by Dr. Daniel A. Poling in 1931 at a national conference of youth leaders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Poling felt that young people should feel free to voice their opinions about the different social concerns they were being faced with, specifically the alcohol prohibition issue in the U.S. at the time. Early on it had many famous supporters, including inventor Thomas Edison, businessman J.C. Penney and President Herbert Hoover.
Allied Youth became an international organization after the expansion into Nova Scotia in 1949. Newfoundland and Labrador Allied Youth was formed in 1963 through the efforts of Corner Brook teacher Jean Alcock and Dr. Al Cooper of St. John's.
Ms. Strang indicated Lawn Post 990 has been quite active since reforming, attending a Leadership Training Weekend in St. John's, as well as the annual provincial kickoff at the Burry Heights Camp on Salmonier Line last fall to start the year.
At weekly meetings, members participate in fun activities such as scavenger hunts and ‘Survivor' nights. So far, they've also held an educational session on smoking.
For Remembrance Day, the group attended a candlelight service for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, along with the annual Nov. 11 ceremony, both at the Royal Canadian Legion in Lawn.
During Christmas, members baked cookies and delivered them door-to-door to seniors in the community.
"We're trying to be quite community-minded, as you can tell from some of the activities that we're doing."
The group plans to be active during AY Week in February and is gearing up to attend the annual provincial conference in April in Gander.
Still, Ms. Strang said it would be nice if there were other groups in the area so they could host regional gatherings or sports days, as they once did when AY was thriving.
"If we get someone else on the go, we'd be able to have more back and forth stuff like that."