It has been my honor to represent the State of California as the Detachment Commander for the 2016-2017 year. My family and I have gone all around this great State and Country of ours wearing our SAL caps proudly and profoundly. To my wife Julie and my sons Jack (15), Matt (14), and Joe (10) you have my unending love and appreciation for your love and support of both myself and this great Detachment of California!
When you look back on your Sons of The American Legion year for 2016-2017 I hope it is marked with success, abundance, increased membership, increased charitable giving, increased camaraderie, and you put the “fun” back in fundraising!
This SAL year was an absolute blast for me. We have a great team of Detachment leaders who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. This year we have improved our communication and improved our visibility, which has translated into heightened success. We have also worked diligently to positively change the culture and atmosphere at the Detachment level. We have instilled simple and forward thinking ideas and plans into action that will benefit the Detachment for many years to come. Our “Adventure” has been documented all year long and has become the premier Newsletter publication in the Sons of the American Legion. I’m telling you, this is the thing that has launched ships, made kings, and has been the envy of millions. At the beginning of the year I issued a challenge to the Detachment, to “make your cover cool”. The challenge was to make the Sons cover or cap relevant and cool to the public. Wear your cover at an unexpected event or around town or on vacation or where ever you might go. Publish those pictures on Social Media or in the Adventure and increase the word on our fantastic organization. The beginning of branding the SAL with a ground swell campaign to increase awareness and positive public perception to service to our veterans and youth causes.
Is your cover cool? Mine is. Shout out to Ned Fox, Bruce Way, Bill Bryant, Tomidan Jordan, Steven Culp, and James Fischer…your covers are very cool! Will you step up and meet my challenge? Is your cover cool? The challenge is to make your cover relevant and to get the word out to a bigger audience about the sheer awesomeness of our organization and the American Legion family. Each and every one of us has a story about what inspired us to join the Sons. What’s your story and who influenced you to join this fantastic organization? How many people in your life have heard this story? How many members are you responsible for bringing into our organization? These are all questions that you should ask yourself. If you are passionate about this organization, like I am, then these questions are easy and they come naturally and you look for ways to wear your cover and represent and promote the Sons and the Legion family. I strongly encourage you to think outside the box and look for new ways to bring in veterans, inspire the story, and make your cover cool!
Membership continues to be the life blood of this organization. We have worked very hard to increase renewal rates and add new Squadrons all year long. I would say that we have been successful at this mission. Congratulations to the entire Detachment of California membership team! Fantastic job well done this year and I know that you guys have led the charge in a lot of areas. At the National convention in Cincinnati, OH we elected Jeff Frain from Arizona as the National Commander. He tasked each and every member of the Sons to bring in 3 veterans to the American Legion. I know we have pushed for adding new veterans and getting word that the younger veterans coming out of the service today are not forgotten, not marginalized, and are important to our family.
The Detachment Convention is rapidly approaching and will be held in Riverside, CA this year on June 22nd thru June 25th. Please plan on attending, your voices are important to us and your votes matter in helping to shape the direction of this Detachment. I would encourage everyone to bring at least 1 new person with them to Convention. Identify a potential future leader. Bring him with you to Convention.
The future is bright for the Detachment of California and we are experiencing growth and leadership in many Districts and Areas. My main goal this year has been simple, to leave the office of Commander a better place than which I found it. I’ve had this philosophy at every office in the Sons that I’ve held. I am inspired by the stories and testimonies of the members at all levels of this great organization and I would encourage you to share your story, your reason you joined, and what drives you to show up for meetings and contribute to the Sons. Share it with everyone, they are empowering in ways that you may not even know. Game plan with your Squadron, District and Area for the future of our organization, this is an important part of the group of next leaders that will steer this Detachment to heightened success.
The Sons of The American Legion is a fantastic organization at every level, from Squadron to National. We are represented extremely well for the future and it is an exciting time to be a member. We are looking into many technology aspects that will streamline our process and information sharing. Important things that equip and inform Squadrons and even possibly facilitate free charitable revenue. As these things develop we will share these exciting opportunities more and more. When I think of the possibilities for the Sons it fills me with hope and happiness because there are so many opportunities that continue to present themselves for us to thrive. I can’t wait for the next chapter!
The Sons year is almost over and my question to each and every member of the Sons of The American Legion is: what are you doing to make your organization better? Are you bringing in new members to the Sons, are you bringing in new members to The American Legion family, are you creating new fundraising opportunities, are you developing ways to serve Veterans, are you reaching out to your community, and have you left your SAL responsibilities better than which you found them. I sincerely hope that every member of the Sons of The American Legion can answer that question quickly. Our goal in this organization is to serve. Serve those who have served our country and children around our community, state, and nation to enrich their lives and make things better. That opportunity to serve our Veterans and Youth doesn’t stop with your membership dues being paid, in fact it only begins there and never truly stops.
See you in Riverside!
Please remember to send in pictures and content for the ADVENTURE, remember it is your story and your ADVENTURE. Live it, love it, and share it!
— For God and Country in Support of the American Legion Family.
Matt and Julie Parsons
Commander and Mrs. Commander
Detachment of California