The Department of Illinois concluded our 26th Annual American Legion Family Winter Membership Caravan. In 11 days, the Caravan covered over 1600 miles from Gurnee (just short of the Wisconsin border) to Metropolis (the border to Kentucky) and East Moline (the Iowa border) to Westville (the Indiana border). During our 19 stops, we collected 249 Auxiliary Memberships which included 26 new Seniors and 6 new Juniors. As a Legion Family, we collected 1,790 cards. Each Post/Unit/Squadron turning in cards were presented with a participation certificate and the top turn in received a prize. The Auxiliary also recognized units who had reached 100% or greater before the start of Caravan.
Joining us on the first half of the trip was National Commander of the SAL, Chris Carlton who brought greetings from the SAL and shared the message of how to "Be the One." Traveling with us for our entire journey as our featured speaker was TAL National Central Division Senior Vice Commander Ken Hylton who spoke of the Legion focus and shared with those in attendance a powerful message about the members we work so hard to recruit, but lose because we fail to engage or support. Our Department of Illinois Legion Family Leadership also spoke to those in attendance. One of the most powerful messages of the event came from our Detachment Commander who shared how personally and deeply affected his post and squadron were by Veterans Suicide when they lost a post officer last year.
Now that we have passed the December 31st membership deadline, the hard work really begins. We have many units that have reached 100% or greater, but we also have 147 that need 5 or fewer members. These are often the hardest memberships to collect. Please reach out if there is anything that we can do to help you. Also, please share any ideas that have worked for your Unit so that we can all strive for success.
“Help Us Grow to Support our Heroes”
As we spend this year hugging out heroes, we would like to focus not only on increasing our membership numbers, but also the member experience. We would like to encouraging units to be in contact with their new members specifically at least twice within their first 90 days of membership, one being within the first 30 days.
Watch the ALA Today and Department website for recommendations on how to increase engagement and the membership experience.
2022-2023 Department of Illinois Membership Awards
KATHY’S KITTENS THE CATS MEOW PLAQUE – to the Unit with the highest percentage of membership by January 1st.
SUE CC’S TWO TIMERS PLAQUE – to the Unit with the highest numerical gain in membership by July 1st. (10-150 members)
JO’S STARLIGHTERS PLAQUE – to the Unit with the highest numerical gain in membership by July 1st. (151 and over members)
DOUBLE D BOOT KICKERS PLAQUE – to the District for the highest percent of membership by opening of Department Convention. Vice President gets citation in a blue folder.
SHARON’S HALOS PLAQUE – to the Division for the highest percent of membership by opening of Department Convention. Vice President get citation in a blue folder.
PAT’S KNIGHTS PLAQUE – to the Unit for the highest numerical gain in Junior membership by July 1st.
Target Date Awards to the first-place districts in each division and first-place division at the target dates.
Goal Units by our birthday 11-10-2022 gets $25.00
Any goal unit by Department Convention gets 2 purple pins and a certificate.
Patriotic Conference awards – for any District President/Vice President and Division President/Vice President that are goal by opening of Patriotic Conference, they will receive 1 free night at hotel or monetary equivalent if not staying in hotel because of location (live in area). MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN
At Family Caravan (January) the Unit that brings the most membership at each stop will receive an award. To be determined.
Lincoln Pilgrimage awards – to the Division and the 2 Districts with the highest percentage in membership on January 31, 2023. To include the President and Vice President. Winners will receive a Jacket and a breakfast ticket if they are present for the program on February 11th and the breakfast on February 12th.
The first Division to reach 102%, the President and the Vice President will receive $150.00 each.
The first District to reach 102%, the President and the Vice President will receive $75.00 each.
An award for reporting on recruitment and retention ideas that can be shared with other units. A reporting method will be shared at the Fall Board Meeting and the Fall Forums.
If you have a Unit that needs re-organization, or needs to be revitalized, or just needs help getting through a rough patch, please call the Department office, President Janet, Liaison Arlene or myself. We are here to support our members and to improve the member experience so that we can retain members, so please allow us to assist when necessary and help relieve stress on units and Presidents.
If a Unit contacts you about canceling, you must refer them to the Department Office. Please, do NOT just close the Unit. There are procedures and protocols that must be followed, and we want to work with Units to see if this is a rough patch or a real concern.