Commander Chip Kossow
Happy New Year! Well, Kinda
The Department convention is over and all the new leaders and executive committees throughout Colorado at all levels are in place. I am honored to be the Department of Colorado Commander. Not for self, but for our veterans, their families, and our communities.
The American Legion is a grass roots organization. Our Post members are doing the work in our towns and cities. I’ve learned a lot about the Legion over the years, but foremost is that an engaged Post is a successful Post. They work through the restrictions and drama to serve. Early on I asked Adjutant Pat Smith what made a Posts successful. He simply stated “Work the Programs”. I didn’t completely understand it right away, but it is proving more and more true as the years go by.
Programs are the heartbeat of the Post and they must be assessed regularly to determine if they are going well or not. If they are vibrant and strong, work to keep them that way. If they are lacking in participation and enthusiasm from the Post and / or the community, figure out a way to reinvigorate them or let them go.
Everything has a life cycle. The cycle stages are infancy, growth, prime, aging, and dying. Assess your programs along these lines: Infancy has high morale and maximum participation. Growth organizes the enthusiasm toward the objective. Prime has the program running smoothly. Aging sees a decline in commitment. And dying – no explanation necessary. Good news is, that with a little motivation and vision, aging and dying can be turned around or even prevented. Programs are the key to a strong Post. Assess them frequently to keep them effective. “That’s the way we always do it” will hurt the program, membership, and eventually the Post. Change is required to keep the Post’s heart beating.
Be on the lookout for new ideas. Programs are based on your community. What works at my Post may not be right for your Post. It will take an assessment of your area. Work with community government, first responders, churches, schools, business and social networks, and anything or anyone that might have information about your neighborhoods.
Programs can be anything but will follow the 4 pillars. A good Post program will fill a need in your community. Programs should also be fun and rewarding to motivate the membership to participate. Remember – Taco Tuesday is not a program. It is a means of raising cash to support your programs. Work the programs!
God Bless our veterans, their families, and the United States of America!
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