Legion College: a week of networking and camaraderie
2022 National American Legion College graduate Mitchell Keil from the Department of Massachusetts. Photo by Hilary Ott/The American Legion

Legion College: a week of networking and camaraderie

Mitchell Keil is a 2022 National American Legion College graduate. 

National American Legion College epitomizes everything there is to love about The American Legion and at the same time gives you the full experience of being a new veteran/member to the feeling of family.

Before I traveled to Indianapolis, I asked alumni for any insight. They stayed pretty tight lipped but gave a hint here and there. As I travel you start to question more and more what you are getting into. When I first arrived for orientation a lot of information was given about how the week will go. The feeling of nervousness increased, thinking how do we manage all that in this short period? I was then split into a group that I worked with for the week.

Here is where my analogy of the new member to family comes in. Like any group of strangers pushed together there is the awkward ice breaker of tell us about yourself in under 15 seconds. That’s when the fun begins. You’re immediately given a task, and you realize you are in a room with various strong personalities. If you think you know it all (about the Legion), NALC will teach you something. The guidance from the facilitators and faculty of the college is immeasurable, any and all questions are thoroughly answered and given the time needed for everyone to feel more knowledgeable. As you listen in the classes, it flows right into the exercises you work on throughout the week outside of class. It is a cohesive program that everyone gained something from.

The feeling of strangers goes away quickly. Throughout each day there is ample time to get to know those around you, and I think this may be more important than the instruction. The networking and camaraderie that happens over such a short span of time is the lifeblood of a course like this. I did not believe one of the alumni of NALC when he said, “I still get messages from my group.” Here I am now a month removed from NALC and my phone is still going off as we share what we’ve brought back from the course and implemented, following up on family emergencies, and looking for advice on both personal and Legion life issues.

If anyone has ever suggested that you go to NALC, I recommend that you apply. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make another set of friends for life.