PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND GUIDELINES:
VFW believes strongly in good citizenship and fostering patriotism. There is no better place to start the process than with our youth. We encourage young minds to examine Veterans of the present as well as through history, and how their own experiences invoke original thought through our Patriot’s Pen youth essay writing contest.
The National Patriot’s Pen Program is a youth essay contest conducted nationwide by VFW Posts and Auxiliaries. This contest gives students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, the opportunity to express their own opinions and improve their writing skills for a given theme, while they compete for worthwhile awards and prizes. With the exception of exchange students, all students attending public, private, or parochial schools are eligible to participate in the Patriot’s Pen Program. Students will compete for $1,000 cash at the Department level. If selected by National, the winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the National Convention for a chance at $5000 and recognition.
*** Post and District Chairman should refer to the National VFW Programs Guide "VFW Scholarship Programs.”
*** Materials are available from VFW Emblem and Supply.
*** Please do not hesitate to contact the Department Chairperson via Email if you have any questions.
DEPARTMENT DEADLINES FOR 2020-2021:
Student Entry Deadline to the Post:October 31, 2020 Post Deadline to submit to District:November 16, 2020
***Black out sheets will be updated via information delivered to Department from the District Chairperson submission of the "Patriot’s Pen District Participation Report.”
**** THERE ARE NO EXECEPTIONS to the DEPARTMENT DEADLINES ****
HOW TO SUBMIT AN ENTRY
To submit a Patriot’s Pen entry, complete the following steps and forward this information to your District Patriots Pen Chairman.
1.Complete the Official Patriots Pen Competition Entry Form.
2.Entries shall be no less than 300 words and no greater than 400 words in length. (Title and footnotes are not counted)
3.Essays should be computer printed or typewritten in English with no color or graphics.
4.Posts judge their entries for inclusion in the District contest and submit their winners and other report information to the District Chairperson.
5.District chooses winners, and completes the District Patriot’s Pen package to
Department, which includes Essay, application form, photo, summary, and report form.
6.District winning entries shall include a good quality head and shoulders photograph of the student. (School photographs best.) It will be needed for the Department winner.
*** For Posts with no District Program, please note that the Department Chairman will accept only one entry, per District.
*** NOTE *** To ensure fairness and objectivity, the student shall not identify themselves within the essay. They shall not include their name, city, state, national origin, race, or specific religion.
Entries are judged on the following:
-Knowledge of the theme – 30 points. Essays must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in the work and demonstrate extensive research of the issue.
-Theme Development – 35 points. Essays should answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Does the student relate the theme to his or her own experiences?
-Clarity of ideas – 35 points. Writer should have good structure and present a clear picture
of the writer’s ideas.
Essays should have a positive approach toward our organization. It is recommended students realize the nature of our organization; however, it should be evident that the essay expresses the young writer’s own viewpoints.
HOW TO REPORT:
District Chairperson completes the Summary Form and a District Participation Form to the Department Chairman NLT January 3, 2020, which includes:
-District Summary form
-Post participation breakout form
All activities other than the student entry should be reported on-line via the Department website under reporting procedure and Youth Activities at www.vfwca.org