American Legion Cmdr: We Have to Recruit the Younger Generation
BRAINERD -- American Legion Posts across the state are slowly starting to get back to their normal activities. Paul Edwards is the Commander of the 6th District in Minnesota which has 70 posts and 16,000 members stretching from St. Cloud to Baudette. He says fall activities like the Camporee and Harvest Rally have been held.
He says overall even prior to COVID-19 the American Legion, like most service organizations, are having difficulty attracting new members.
The way a lot of people think has changed. They don't understand the concept of providing service to others as much as we used to. And the younger generation in particular they are not associating with us as much as we want to. That's one of the things we have to do we have to go out and recruit the younger generation of veterans.
He says about 40 percent of veterans are women so the organization has to do a better job of becoming more family-friendly.
Now spouses of female veterans who may not otherwise be eligible to join the Legion are now eligible to join the Auxiliary and become part of the Legion family.
Edwards says one of the things he's pushed for as a District Commander is to do more mentoring of the next generation.
The American Legion used to have about three million members nationwide, but that number is down to about 1.6 million now.
He says the state of Minnesota has just two or three World War II veterans that are still active with the organization.
Wednesday is National American Legion Day.