This year’s Mid-Winter conference included a Membership Committee meeting and seminar, and I am very pleased to report the topic of conversation centered on mentorship, especially mentoring our younger members.
Some of you may recall a previous newsletter regarding mentoring. I believe this is very important as DAV moves forward, especially since our nation is winding down from more than a decade of war, and transitioning military members will need our services more than ever. The Membership Committee presented and discussed several ideas for invigorating Chapters and Departments to get our new members actively involved in DAV. Look for more news to follow and possibly a webinar later this summer for our members to use to accomplish this very important mission. We will also be featuring articles on mentoring in DAV Magazine.
Some of the discussion during the meeting concerned community service programs at the Chapter and Department levels, tailored to meet the unique needs of individual communities. This is an opportunity for us to showcase who DAV is and what we do for our veteran brothers and sisters.
During the session, we also decided to review the introductory packet each new member receives from the Membership Department. After all, how long has it been since many of us who have been with DAV for years reviewed these materials? I invite you to take a look at the packet, and if you have suggestions, send them to our Membership Committee so we can improve this tool.
We realize Chapters need to have regular business meetings, and there are concerns about these meetings becoming too routine. But opportunities abound during these meetings for mentoring and developing our future leaders. Remember, the calling of any successful organization is for leaders to train their own replacements. Part of bringing new or potential members into the fold and getting them active could include:
- Making copies of the weekly NSO membership report distributed to Chapters.
- An email from the Chapter welcoming the new member and introducing their sponsor.
- Hospital Service Coordinators reaching out to hospitalized members.
- Visiting nursing homes as part of the chaplain’s duties.
- Developing a prospect list at local Golden Corral activities and using that list to contact potential members.
Reaching new members and then mentoring them is a challenge, but it can also invigorate Chapters and Departments. Keep in mind that many of our new members are currently transitioning out of uniform. Since most of them are still working, make sure to have a program or activity that meets their schedules and needs. Picnics, evening events, childcare arrangements — these could be helpful to our auxiliary partners and during couples night. When you offer programs for younger veterans, make sure the topics matter to them, such as employment or a veteran-owned business seminar. The possibilities are endless.
I want to thank our Membership Committee for their efforts and thoughtful insights at the Mid-Winter conference. Please look for upcoming articles and newsletters concerning member mentorship and send your ideas to the DAV Membership Committee. I believe Benjamin Franklin had it absolutely correct when he said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Involving and mentoring new members will chart DAV’s future course, and it’s up to us to lay that foundation.