The American Legion Department of Idaho’s nine districts are working to meet or exceed monthly membership goals to keep from being named the “goat of Idaho.”
Each month the district with the lowest membership percentage is awarded a “My District is the Goat of Idaho” plaque and a stuffed goat. They are required to travel with the district commander and make an appearance at all district and department functions “so everyone knows their district is last for membership,” said Abe Abrahamson, the department's membership chairman and a member of the Legion’s National Membership & Post Activities Committee.
There’s also a fee associated with the award – the Idaho district and area commander each pay $25 to department headquarters, which uses the funds for membership revitalization efforts.
Four districts have earned the membership goat award since it was implemented last August. Upon receiving the plaque and toy, the district commanders immediately called Abrahamson asking how to get rid of them.
“I wanted to do something to promote membership in our state, and this has been a great way for district commanders and I to work together to get their membership back up,” Abrahamson said. “The district commanders call the posts in their districts and let them know about the goat, and they work to increase membership for the following month.”
Abrahamson said last year the Department of Idaho was in 18th place or higher for meeting membership goals at the national level. Since implementing the membership goat award, the department has been in the top five.
“It really gives district commanders an incentive to get rid of the goat plaque and animal as fast as they can,” he said.