Pros and cons of online Legion posts

Some American Legion departments are chartering online, or cyber, American Legion posts. What is the reason?  Why have them?  

American Legion ePost 2100 is Georgia’s only cyber post. It’s named after the late U.S. Air Force Col. Larry A. Hoff of Loganville, Ga.

“Larry believed fervently that the Legion in Georgia could be a leader in helping our organization at the national, department, district and post levels to update and modernize our use of cyber tools and communications,” wrote Dan Albertus, first commander of ePost 2100.

Before his passing, Hoff presented a broad concept of using a cyber strategy to Department of Georgia leadership, which they accepted in concept.

On March 11, 2013, was chartered. We have 25 members. The main purpose of a cyber post is to serve those veterans and families who cannot, or maybe will not, belong to a traditional brick-and-mortar post. Monthly meetings are held via various free and fee-paid communications programs such as GoToMeeting, Skype and Zoom.

The meeting programs can allow user access by cell phone, tablet or computer. They also can allow audio and visual options, with access limited by bandwidth and fees. So, what are the pros and cons?

- No travel requirements, allowing members to be in the comfort of their home without driving in bad weather or at night.
- Adjutants can record and save the sessions.
- Communication with members can be immediate through the creation of an online call.
- No insurance or liquor/machine licensing fees, or upkeep of a post home.
- Members can sign on for meetings anywhere there is Internet access.
- No personal expenses, such as gas, food or parking at a post home.
- Ability to see members.
- Ability to sponsor a Boys State and Oratorical Contest youth participant.

- No social intermingling.
- Mostly no Sons squadrons, Auxiliary units or Riders chapters.
- Fundraising is extremely limited.
- No on-site programs.
- Few, if any, group projects.
- Requires online access.
- Users may have challenges using audio/video controls.

When I heard of a cyber post being organized, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it and to help. Being a computer nut only added to my joy of serving veterans and their families via online. In this information age, a cyber post easily and economically fits in to meet the needs of some of us.

A website and monthly newsletter, which complement the monthly face-to-face meetings, are vital to informing members and to serve as a recruiting tool.

I feel a cyber post is sort of feather in the cap of Georgia as The American Legion maintains relevance in today’s tech world.
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