The AIS Foundation
Every year the AIS Foundation sponsors the Ackerman Essay Contest [details are forthcoming, select the topic, judges and the winners and award the prize money to two AIS Youth members. The AIS Foundation is separate from The American Iris Society.
Clarke Cosgrove Award
AIS adult members nominate deserving AIS Youth members for the Annual Clarke Cosgrove Memorial Award for Youth Achievement.
Youth members must be nominated by an adult AIS-member.
Classroom Iris Project (CIP)
This fund is a "dedicated" fund, which means that the money in the fund can only be used to pay the annual dues for the adult in charge (teacher, 4-H leader, Boy or Girl Scout leader, school aide, etc.) of a Classroom Iris Project. Donations made to this fund are used solely to pay these yearly dues, once the youth member dues have been received.
What is the Youth Yearly Budget
Funded completely by the AIS General Fund, each year an amount is determined for use by the AIS Youth Committee to fund all the various expenses incurred in running a youth program, including but not limited to printing, postage, coloring contest awards, and the youth reception and social at the annual National Convention. Approximately 400 plus issues of the youth newsletter, The Iris Fan, are sent out twice a year, and every new youth member is sent a New Member Packet, which contains a welcome letter, a copy of the Youth Handbook, a youth questionaire, and a previous copy of the newsletter. This year's budget was set at $1200.
What is the Youth General Fund
This is a brand "dedicated" fund, which was started at the 2006 AIS National Convention in Portland, Oregon. Donations made to this fund can be used to sponsor any youth project approved by the AIS Youth Committee, such as, but not limited to, purchase of research material (books on irises) for a school library, payment of youth dues, transportation/registration expenses for a youth member attending a National Convention, funding of a community garden project started by an AIS youth member. Monies sent to the Donations Secretary and designated for Youth will be placed in this fund.
We all know how expensive attending a regional event can be, especially if your region is large. There is the cost of the hotel, transportation to the event, and of course the registration for the event. There are also additional costs involved, such as additional meals, photography expenses, etc. Multiply this by 3 or 4 to attend a National Convention! Sometimes, the costs are even higher. Many times these expenses are just too much to allow a youth member to attend.
Just what is a youth ambassador? A youth ambassador is a member of The American Iris Society, chosen by their region to be a representative at the AIS National Convention. It is up to the individual regions to decide the criteria necessary to implement this program.
Hopefully, the region would award their representative enough money to attend the AIS National Convention and help defray expenses, whether it is paying for the full registration, a few days of hotel costs, or travel expenses. We know that many regions are small, and funding an event such as this would be prohibitive, but perhaps members of those regions would help to sponsor ONE youth member with donations from each affiliate. In this way, everyone would share the costs. If your region has 501C(3) status, you could start a fund to honor a longtime member and place the donations into that fund.
For example, Region 14 sponsors two or more youth members with scholarships in order for these youth members to attend their regional meeting. Region 15 pays the cost of registration for youth members to attend their regional meetings. Other regions have their own youth awards.
Each region will decide how to choose their representative. Perhaps it could be an essay contest .... "Why I Would Be An Excellent Region Representative", or nomination by an adult member .....'I nominate Youth Member because they ahve been such a wonderful addition to our club, helping at meetings, sales and shows.' Maybe you've attended another club's meeting and been impressed by a youth member. There are endless possibilities. It can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. Region officers, including the affiliate Presidents, would make the choice.
You could give your Youth Ambassador disposable cameras to take to the Convention. CDs can be made from these disposable cameras with which the Youth Ambassador could design a program that they would present to the different clubs individually or at a Region meeting, as a condition of their convention attendance. The Youth Ambassador could write an article for the Region newsletter/AIS Bulletin. Seeing an event from the perspective of a youth member could be very interesting, especially siince we all know that adults attending an event have different insights into what occurred.
Take it to your region/affiliates meetings, talk about it, express the pros and cons.
There are many wonderful opportunities for a youth member to attend. If you know of an AIS Youth member who will be attending the National Convention, perhaps the Region takes a chance by partly funding their trip in exchange for a program by the Youth member. Clubs could hold bake sales, car washes, or even get a local business to help with funding.