Mentoring through Membership

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I was sitting in yet another “mandatory fun” briefing in the base theater wishing the crowd would stop asking the visiting panelists, all retired officers or senior non-commissioned officers, questions so I could go back to work.

But, someone just had to get their nickel’s worth in and asked the panelists their thoughts concerning mentorship and a new regulation that had just been released covering the subject.

Then, something I’ll never forget happened and it changed my perspective forever.

A crusty retired E-9 with 30 years of military service stood up, looked the young man in the eye and said, “Son, let me tell you something. Good leaders, regardless of rank or position, have been mentoring troops since mankind started throwing rocks and sticks at each other. We must always train our own replacements. I can about guarantee you the only reason we have some sort of regulation for it now is someone felt the need to say they did something to deserve a promotion.”

He then sat down and glared at the other panelists as if he were daring them to contradict him.

No one did.

The same thing can be said of our organization. Good leaders mentor the new up and coming members of our community.

Have you sat down with a new member and gone over our National Constitution and Bylaws or our National Executive Committee regulations to explain how DAV works?

Do they know where to find resources on our website?

What about taking a younger person under your wing at their first convention?

Through years of being a part of DAV, many of you have knowledge and continuity new people are thirsting for. Don’t leave them behind.

Mentorship goes hand in hand with leadership with one small difference. Leadership can be broadly defined as organizing others toward one common goal.

Mentorship is a two-way street. Either the mentor or the mentee may initiate the relationship; however, both must internally “sign off” on this mutual path of training and trust.

As DAV members, you have a great power to mentor so many people about veteran-related issues: your friends who may not have served, your family, your community leaders and stakeholders and, finally, our fledgling DAV members.

Use this power to make a positive impact for both DAV and someone’s life.