That’s what impressed Riley Kendall the most during the Newfoundland and Labrador Command Royal Canadian Legion 65th Provincial Convention held in Stephenville at Branch 35 through the weekend and wrapping up today.
Kendall, who has been a member of the Legion for 40 years and a member of the Canadian Military Reserves for 23 years, said the main thing with legion branches remains the support of veterans and their families and the community where they live.
While some legions in smaller communities have closed throughout the years, more than 40 branches remain operational across the province.
Kendall said from the discussion, enrollment is down at legions in this province by 15 to 20 per cent in the last decade and is now at about 4,000. There are about 275,000 members across the country.
He said there was lots of discussion during the convention on ways and means of trying to attract people to join the legion. With legion sports programs, scholarships programs for the schools and many legion branches sponsoring cadet units, there are lots of things members can get involved in.
Kendall said he encourages more of their younger veterans, especially those involved in recent conflicts, to join the Royal Canadian Legion.
He said there seems to be reluctance by some of them to join and that may be attributed to a lot of them living in smaller communities where they are no legions located or because it’s different now than when the First and Second World Wars ended and soldiers came home in large numbers together.
Kendall said reports from committees during the convention seemed positive despite the fact that there are still a number of branches who are having some financial struggles. It’s hoped that all of them will be able to continue and meet the challenges they are faced with.
He encourages all veterans and non-veterans to become involved in the Legion, which he said is a good organization.
Kendall also had great praise for the organizers and volunteers at the convention.
For Brian LeRoux, a Legionnaire who has been with Branch 35 for 38 years, the convention was an eye-opener and he was impressed at how well it was run.
“There have been some great ideas coming out of the event in relation to recruitment and the dedication to veterans who need help was certainly highlighted during the convention,” he said.
Royal Canadian Legion 65th Provincial Convention
- Average of 130 people at luncheons and suppers.
- 87 voting delegates in attendance.
- 10 observers.
- Three scrutineers.
Source: Convention organizers.