Last August, when I was elected your national commander during the 94th National Convention in Indianapolis, I laid out the many challenges facing America's veterans. But I also laid out a challenge facing the organization – membership.
I know Legionnaires work hard at recruiting and retaining members, but it's important to get the word out about all the good work that The American Legion does for veterans, servicemembers, children and youth, and community members. However, what I have found and heard from many of you is that it's a lot easier to talk about how great the Legion is – and even educate new and potential members on the organization and its Four Pillars – when you have a strong knowledge and understanding yourself.
To give you that solid understanding of the programs and practices of The American Legion, we have developed a new training program: Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD). LEAD is a one-day, eight-hour training session designed to provide professional development training for post-, district-, county- and department-level members. Experts from National Headquarters cover a wide range of topics relevant to the operations of the Legion, such as the Four Pillars, fundraising, membership, public relations, resolutions and more.
I know many departments are currently preparing for their mid-winter conference. If your department is one of them, I encourage you to consider hosting a LEAD training program. All travel, lesson plans and handout materials are provided at no expense to departments.
I can assure you that this program is a surefire way to develop leaders who will increase and retain membership, and promote all the good that the Legion does. If interested, call (317) 630-1330.
When people know who we are, what we do and who we do it for, they will entrust their children to our programs, donate to support our veterans and their families, and join The American Legion to make a difference. So as we embrace a new year, start it off on the right path by taking the LEAD training program. Let's achieve our five-year membership challenge and more.
When it comes to this organization, I believe we can do anything we set our minds to.