Legacy Youth Institute - Session #3 - Champions of FLAG
Veteran's Village - Red Roof Mall

Legacy Youth Institute Students Inspired by Veterans

Branson, MO – November 15, 2012 – The Legacy Youth Institute (LYI) held its third session—“Championing Flag”—last week in the midst of the Veterans’ Homecoming festivities at the Red Roof Mall.  In this session, LYI students from Stone and Taney counties learned the value of patriotism and service to country. They were also encouraged to consider youth initiatives that could help more deeply instill this value in other area youth.

Students first heard from Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin and Branson Police Chief Kent Crutcher about how they serve the community through their particular governmental agencies. Students also heard from Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley and Marlyce Stockinger, Veteran Special Event Coordinator at Then, the students had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with veterans, which they considered an inspiring highlight of the session.

“I was struck by how all of the veterans I talked to were obviously proud of their service to our country, but each expressed it in a solemn, humble way,” said Autumn Mahoney, a student from Branson High School.  Crane High School student Chandler King reflected, “I could tell a real sense of discipline in the gentleman I visited with. So much is handed to us now that was not given to them.” Lansing Brown of School of the Ozarks said, “The Vietnam veteran I talked to said that America was founded on Christian principles, and that he couldn’t have patriotism without being grounded in his faith.”

Though each conversation was different, the LYI students agreed that getting to visit with veterans face to face made a major impact on their views on the importance of patriotism. In fact, the group is considering ways to provide forums where more youth have the chance to glean wisdom and perspective from veterans and other active military personnel. “We need to do something to help re-instill pride in being an American, especially in the youth,” said Will Bien, student at Blue Eye High School.

“Many of the veterans I talked to today said that they thought that reciting the Pledge was one of the most important things for our country,” said Rachel Allphin, a student at Reeds Spring High School. “Some kids don’t even realize how special our country is. Maybe if we said the Pledge every day at school, we’d have a better understanding.” Allphin also reported that one veteran told her that he wished “today’s youth could see the bigger picture”—that they would realize that pride in our country prompts people to make the very sacrifices that continue to ensure our freedoms. His commitment to America was clear in his statement to Allphin, “If you’re going to burn a flag, wrap me up in it first.”

Legacy Youth Institute students want to do something to encourage a rise of patriotism in their generation. Though the specific initiatives are still forming, Branson High School student Hunter Fredrick clearly expresses their goal, “We want to do something that will influence our youth to influence our future.” 

The next session of the Legacy Youth Institute, which will focus on the area’s commitment to “Champion Friends,” will be held on Wednesday, December 5. For more information about the Legacy Youth Institute, please contact Ozark Mountain Legacy at (417) 598-1314, or visit or

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Legacy Youth Institute | PO Box 7070 | Branson, MO 65615 | 417-598-1314 |