|YE OFFICIAL SERTOMA NEWSLETTER
January 13, 2021
Our speaker today was the Regional Commander of the American Legion. He is a member in the Nisswa American Legion. He is a long time worker with the Boys Scouts and his hobby is teaching skiers. The American Legion is the largest veteran’s organization in the world. It was founded in 1919 after World War 1. Black Jack Pershing was one of the founders of the Legion. It’s goal was to help take care of and rehabilitate people coming home from wars. The first ever convention was held in Minneapolis, MN as was their recent 100th anniversary. In 1919, The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, , and Children & Youth. Their children and youth project is a National oratorical contest about the Constitution with a $25,000 scholarship. They support a baseball program. They are very sincere about being non partisan. They do have lobbyists working with the politicians to support veteran programs. They are working for an American Flag protection act. They support a legacy scholarship fund for students who are orphans due to the loss of a parent to war. Minnesota has donated over a million dollars to this scholarship fund. Legionville School Patrol Camp is their project. Their preamble is a promise that they recite before every meeting that resounds with their high standards and promises about their goals. The recent Legion Act passed by Congress to include any time of military service. “We are not just the bar down the street” was the major theme of his talk. One interesting question he could not answer was the future of the combination of the VFW and the American Legion. Steven M thanked him for the Color Guard.Their rifles and ammunition belong to the Army. Klem thanked him for the flag program they run in Nisswa that his children have participated in.
I am reprinting his very timely statement on their website verbatim because it sums up why the Legion and so many of our fraternals are having serious problems with membership recruitment. Our REM Team is to be congratulated for realizing new members have to be welcomed and entertained. The Legion is the largest veteran’s organization and Paul Edwards is the Minnesota 6th District Commander for 2019-2020. The international has extended his term through the next year due to the fact that they were not allowed to have any of their conventions.
In the past few years, since I became involved in the American Legion and started paying attention to things going on above the Post level, I have observed a few things. Consequently, I have also formed a few opinions, some of which might be considered heretical.
At virtually every event I attend, whether it be a rally, a conference or a convention, there seems to be an on-going litany of, “membership, membership, membership”, and folks trying to come up with new and better ways to recruit and renew members. Because I tend to be a realist, I don’t have a real problem with all of that; as far as it goes. We need dues moneys in the coffers to do the things that we do. I won’t try to mention here all the programs and projects our dues support across the country. We also need people. People to greet members and guests at our posts. People to stand honor guard at funerals. People cto go out and teach children about flag etiquette. Even people to help with cleaning up after a fundraiser breakfast or dinner. Bottom line, we do need membership.
RECRUITING, RENEWAL AND RETAIN
Recruiting is pretty straight forward. Talk to veterans about the Legion and ask them to join. Be able to explain why you are a member and why it should be important to them. Renewing is both simple and difficult at the same time. Simple to tell folks that it is time to pay their annual dues. Difficult to get them to actually write the check. Dues notices, emails, letters and phone calls. I get it. Nuff said.
Where I see a problem is retaining new members and I see this as a problem to drop in the laps of the individual Posts. Ask yourself these questions, “Is my Post a Good Old Boys club? Have we been doing things the same way for many years and we like it that way? Do we go out of our way to make new members welcome?”
Here are some comments that have been made to new post members, either in my hearing or relayed to me by people I trust.
Said to a female Veteran visiting a post meeting – “The women meet down the hall.”
Said to a Vietnam Veteran when he joined a post – “Sit there in the back. We will tell you when you can talk.
Said of a stateside supply sergeant during Vietnam – “We don’t want him in the Post, he’s not a real Veteran.”
Said of a female Veteran – “She shouldn’t be a candidate for Legion office, she’s not a real Veteran.”
This is very much old school and “Good Old Boy” thinking, and it needs to be done away with. With the passage of the LEGION Act, a Veteran is a Veteran is a Veteran. We all took the same Oath of Enlistment and saluted the same flag. All Veterans deserve our respect and are entitled to every courtesy that we as Legionnaires can give them.
Today’s young Veterans are not the same as those from the 60s and 70s. In those days, typically the man was the Veteran who went to work and brought home the bacon and Mama stayed home with the kids. Dad was a member of the Legion and went there for a beer after work. Occasionally, Mom could get away to go to an Auxiliary meeting.
The world has changed. Today’s Veteran is 40% likely to be a woman. Today’s male Veteran is more family oriented and we need to make changes in the posts to reflect that reality. For example, more family events like picnics or kid’s parties. How about better advertising for Legion Baseball? How about scheduling conferences and conventions so that mom and dad don’t have to take so much time off from work? Maybe arrange childcare at those events?
I will close with this thought. We talk about the Legion being a family organization. We need to make changes at every level of the organization to make it more family friendly and welcoming to new members. If we don’t make those changes, it doesn’t matter if we go out and recruit 10,000 new members, they will vote with their feet.
Paul concluded with encouraging everyone who qualified to join the American Legion. Karla Nelson backed him up by telling everyone she has been a member for 50 years and is very proud to be one.
|September 15, 2020 Report
|Go out and get your fishing raffle tickets from a local charity such as the Boy Scouts and Beth Burnard’s group and they get half the money.
SAI GAU INFO Applications in email sent out Tuesday
To the basics of the Sy Gau Scholarship, there will be one $1,500 scholarship available for each of the seven eligible Great Plains Districts again this year. $500 Merit Scholarships may be awarded to the next highest scoring applicants regardless of their district of origin. The number of $500 Merit Scholarships awarded (0 – 5) will be determined by the committee and will be based on the previous year’s earnings of the Fund and/or judged application scores.The criteria to apply for the scholarship:
1. The applicant must be a relative of a Great Plains Sertoma member in good standing; the applicant does not have to live in the Great Plains Region nor be attending a Great Plains School. Scholarship consideration is mainly based on their volunteerism and community service history.
2. Sertoma Club members, Collegiate Sertoma Club members, and Serteen Club members in good standing are also eligible.
3. Applicants must be enrolled as a full time student in any undergraduate program. High school seniors are also eligible to apply.
4. Applicants must use the current application form (2020); past years’ forms will not be accepted. PLEASE DESTROY ALL OLD FORMS.
5. Applicants are reminded to complete all blanks and type their answer to all four questions on a separate sheet of paper. Also note there are two required current letters of recommendation, one from education and one from service. Five copies of all parts of the application must be submitted.
5. If your persons making recommendations wish to have their letters sent without you seeing them, ask him/her to seal them in an envelope so that you may attach the envelope to your other collated submission papers.
6. Complete and collated applications must be post marked by January 31, 2021 and returned directly to Sertoma National Headquarters at the address on the application.The winners will be announced through phone or e-mail in May, 2021. The money will be deposited directly into the student’s school account for use for the 2021 Fall term. (Depending on your chosen school, half of the scholarship may be deposited to your account each semester).Jeff Olson announced that the current president from South Dakota for Camp Sertoma recently passed away.
Pam Finch invited everyone to participate in Clear Vision, she is a presenter.
Jeff Finch is moved back to Alaska.
|Blue Ticket Winner|
|Would have been Amber Babineau|
|Guests: BufordJohnson, Paul Edwards
|* Everyone is encouraged to bring potential members to a Sertoma meeting with the Club picking up the cost. However, you will be billed $11.00 for any other guests.|
As greeter you have several duties. You need to arrive about 10 minutes early. It is your job to greet people, help them find their badges and sell them a ticket if they wish to participate. The money collected must be divided by the Greeters equally–half goes to the Current Club Treasurer for the social committee and half goes to the Club President along with the bucket of tickets. Greeter duties now include handing out the volunteer cards to everyone as they come in the door. They will still be collected in the bucket with the badges or can be submitted to the treasurer. Be there by 11:45 and call somebody to substitute for you if you can’t be there.
|Sertoman of the Day|
|Thank you Ken Toole for your hard work trying to manage the Zoom meetings. Your well composed announcements for the newsletter account to forward are much appreciated. It was kind of fun to see how many fines we racked up in absentia!
Don’t forget to call Chef Mike and order some rolls. Two smart lucky people left the meeting today with goodies for the future. Tuesday before the meeting for the order worked well for Karla and Klem. It has a ring to it!!
This Weeks Humor
|Notes from your President Ken Toole
|Our president is sharing wisdom each week to encourage our members to be positive ambassadors for our great club.
Roster Updates/Change of Information
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