ST. CLOUD - Hundreds of VFW and VFW auxiliary members from around Minnesota made their way to St. Cloud for the annual VFW Fall Conference.

The conference is one of three throughout the year where VFW members from around Minnesota get together. The weekend is filled with seminars and activities, where veterans can learn about programs and the organizations future plans.

One of the main topics of discussion is the declining membership numbers in the VFW.

Tom Hanson, who has been apart of the VFW for 42 years, says he thinks they need to do a better job reaching out to younger veterans.

"I was speaking to some younger veterans [at a event] who said they had heard of the VFW but no one had talked to them about joining. A lot of it is really our own fault that these guys are not hearing about us. We need to get out and hit the pavement."

Hanson also says that if they want to attract younger members, they may need to make some changes that are appealing to a younger audience.

"Maybe we need to make childcare available at the VFW. The younger veterans are really involved with their family's. Having childcare option might be a good start to getting them in the door."

While he says change is difficult for some to stomach, it is necessary to get more people interested in joining. Hanson went as far as to say that any veteran who is eligible to join the VFW he would willing help pay their 1st years membership dues and show them around their local VFW post.

The Minnesota VFW Auxiliary was also at the conference. One of the ways the auxiliary has used to attract new members is by allowing men join the auxiliary.

The VFW conference started on Friday and will continue through Sunday in St. Cloud.


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