ALA member Nicky Flores attended the Auxiliary’s first national Junior meeting in 1984 in Salt Lake City. Later, she was elected Western Division honorary national Junior division vice president. Today, she is the 2023-2024 national Junior Activities Committee Western Division chair.
“For me, it means to pay back,” she said of being a Junior member to her role now on the national level.
“Hopefully it inspires some of these Junior members we have in our organization that ‘what I’m doing now matters and it can continue to matter.’ To me, it’s important that just because you turn 18, it doesn’t mean our organization stops or the purpose of our organization stops. Hopefully I can be an example that this organization is worth staying with and we can make a difference.”
Flores recalled her first national Junior meeting experience.
“I had no clue what to expect when I walked into a room full of other kids who had the same purpose as me.”
Like many Juniors who attend these ALA events geared toward ages 8-18, it didn’t take long for Flores to feel a sense of camaraderie among one another and feel at home, taking part in flag folding, crafts, service projects, and more.
With her personal experience attending national Junior meetings, Flores said it’s important for Junior members to do so too.
“Having Juniors attend gives them better knowledge of what our programs are about and why we do what we do,” she said. “If you want our Juniors to understand why they wear a poppy or why they are writing cards or folding flags, have them be with other kids. They can make a lifetime friend.”
Flores encourages departments to fundraise and send at least one Junior member to a meeting each ALA administrative year.
It’s also important to give them encouragement to continue their membership as senior members, she added.
Flores offers advice to Junior members on how to get involved and stay involved.
“Find your passion — that one Auxiliary program that means something to you — and concentrate on that,” she said. “So many of our programs interact with one another that you can work on and do multiple ones.”