Fifty-four Legionnaires from 31 states graduated Oct. 29 after a week of intensive classroom and small-group activities at the 12th annual National American Legion College in Indianapolis.
The program enhances knowledge and appreciation of The American Legion, and teaches the core values and contributions of the organization, its Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion and many subordinate programs. Knowledge gained during the week-long classroom and small-group sessions prepares young Legionnaires for leadership positions in posts, districts, counties and departments through education, development and motivation. The curriculum challenges student leaders to think critically and creatively about issues confronting the Legion.
"You have gained a great deal of knowledge about The American Legion during your week here," American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster said during graduation ceremonies. "You will be tempted to go back to your post ready to change the world. I caution you to ease into it slowly if you hope to succeed. It's not what you know, but rather how you use your newfound knowledge."
Past National Commander and Legion College Chancellor Butch Miller echoed Foster's words.
"There is no doubt that many of you may become the leaders of tomorrow's American Legion," Miller said. "You may one day become national commander in your own right. Clarence Hill, 2009-2010 national commander, is a graduate of Legion College. But remember, what you learned here does not guarantee success. You have the basic tools to succeed. What you choose to with those tools is up to each of you."
During the program, national and department Legion leaders, staff and Legion College graduates led students through a number of classroom lectures as well as smaller sessions with emphasis on programs, management techniques and leadership skills necessary to increase visibility of programs, growth in membership, and public awareness of The American Legion and its corresponding organizations.
Students learned to write resolutions, how to interact with the media, write strategic plans and to develop public speaking skills. The objective of the small-group sessions was to give students an opportunity to develop department-level training classes.
For information on how to apply for the 2011 class, contact Matt Herndon, course developer, The American Legion National College, at (317) 630-1406.