Posted on Nov 23, 2016
CPT Aaron Kletzing
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There is no basis to believe that the American Legion and VFW will be able to reverse their membership decline. We've heard this old story before, yes. Average age in many of these posts is 72-74 years old (VFW's own data). We all know younger veterans generally don't care about being a member in either of these orgs. When these VSOs do die off, will it really matter to the larger vet community?
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SP5 Retired
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Edited >1 y ago
CPT Aaron Kletzing Our Legion post in Brevard NC is facing the issue common to the AL nationwide. We face an end to a 90 year old post without new members and their active involvement. That said, the Legion doesn't seem to offer what the current generation pf veterans are seeking, whatever that might be. The canard that "the AL and VFW consist of a group of old men in funny hats sitting around drinking beer and telling stories" has a ring of truth. It could be that the current crop of vets are in no mood for war stories since they have experienced their own adventures too often too recently. In any case, the existing model needs to change to attract new members.
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PO3 Doug Connell
PO3 Doug Connell
8 mo
I went to my local post and was ran off. They don’t want younger members they treat them like crap. I walked in and was immediately made to feel unwelcome.
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SP5 Retired
SP5 (Join to see)
8 mo
PO3 Doug Connell - Did you make a follow up contact with one of the post's leadership to make them aware of your reception? It could be that once they are aware, they could address the issue. Just my 2 cents.
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PO3 Doug Connell
PO3 Doug Connell
8 mo
Considering it was the post commander who I talked to told him I had an electronic DD214. He told me I could leave until I went and printed it off. Then told me that I had an attitude.
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SP5 Retired
SP5 (Join to see)
8 mo
PO3 Doug Connell - Looks like the attitude is top down. Sorry leadership.
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SPC Britanny *Winnie* Balthaser
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CPT Aaron Kletzing I am a member of the American Legion and shortly the VFW. I find it hard because the older generation pushes us the younger ones away with our ideas and technology. I understand it is a different way but if they don't let us in it will be the end. Gotta keep up with the time. All other industries, food, hospitality, automotive even agriculture is changing... I am happy to help and bring in more people as I can, and I was just told by the Auxilary ladies at the VFW here that they need more of us (younger, energy) We need to work on ways to work together and bring the younger generation into the mix and have them more involved. I love working service projects and helping...
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SPC Britanny *Winnie* Balthaser
SPC Britanny *Winnie* Balthaser
>1 y
1stSgt Chris Schmidt - my Legion is in Texas where my parents live, they are both board members my mom being the Treasurer/Finance person and my dad I believe might be chaplain this year. My father was commander one year. But I would say I get treated nice because of my parents, I'm not sure if I'd be treated similarly if I was not connected to them, have I seen a female commander in my 9+ years as a member? No, I haven't. Is it because there isn't an opportunity or because I think they wouldn't get voted for by those members mainly male that have been with the post a long time.

What's funny I went to feed the hungry which was sponsored by the VFW and some of the men that came, mind you I had a baby strapped to my waist, were literally like where is your mom? Apparently, I look like a teenager or something. When I said no, I am a Veteran who is volunteering they were taken aback...Like that is something they don't see often.
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Maj Marty Hogan
Maj Marty Hogan
>1 y
Spot on.
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SSG Dave Rogers
SSG Dave Rogers
6 y
First thanks for joining, second don't give up, or give in. I had it hard at first, but I showed them it works and now I get great support from the members. This last year we had our first African American Female County Commander, and while some of them were not sure at first, at the end of the year she was far more respected than before. We have to remember that nothing good comes easy.
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COL John McClellan
COL John McClellan
6 y
Glad to have you in the VFW Captain! Don't be dissuaded - volunteer for a position no one else will do and then make a difference! Pretty soon, you will look around and those holding you back will be gone!
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SSG Laurie Mullen
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It may be that the reason so many men were active in those organizations was so that they could stay connected to their brothers. Today's new generation of veterans stay connected through the internet now. How many of us joined this site to connect with others who understand us? How many of us have joined veteran's Face Book pages to connect with other veterans? In addition to this site, I am a member of at least five Face Book pages for veterans only.
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SPC Darren Koele
SPC Darren Koele
>1 y
MAJ (Join to see) - I totally agree, Major. I just had this discussion with my wife. Online communication is nice and all, but nothing beats a face to face conversation. I told her that I joined Rally Point because it provides me an opportunity to talk to other veterans, some with different experiences, no matter the subject matter. But there is something more fulfilling about talking to someone over a beer and plate cheese sticks. Whether we are talking about veterans' issues or what our winter projects are going to be, there is just something about an in-person meeting that surpasses an internet posting. I think that's much more personal to be face to face and with our younger generations face glued to their smartphones, they may not be geared toward that.
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COL John McClellan
COL John McClellan
6 y
Rallypoint is great, but it doesn't feed homeless Vets, or get them a hotel room, or a haircut. RP doesn't drive a Vet to his VA appointments, or serve coffee/donuts there every week. VFWs and American Legions... do that, and much more, in thousands of Communities all over the USA!
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COL John McClellan
COL John McClellan
5 y
MSgt David Hoffman - I wasn't making any assertions about RP members, MSGT Hoffman, and in no way was I disparaging anyone on this feed, personally. And you are right - members of these VSOs do the things I described. I have yet to see, though, the Rallypoint platform, itself, turn into an organizing platform for charitable endeavors is all. (I'm sure, BTW that are examples of that out there.) The VSO itself is chartered to support these activities and has a physical location in a Community. So the leadership, communications and follow-through are facilitated by that relationship between the VFW and the VA, or the other Veterans group, or the Veterans in need themselves. VFWs and American Legions and the conflict-based groups... are a catalyst for charitable action - bringing together members, resources and partners. This is all I am getting at.
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COL John McClellan
COL John McClellan
5 y
MSgt David Hoffman - BTW - it is the same oat our Post - we have close to 1,000 members but 30-40 people who are regular volunteers and about 8-10 core people who are running this place on a daily basis. That's a whole other conversation!!
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