Midway through his year as National Commander of the Sons of The American Legion, Clint Bolt remains optimistic about the goals he set forth for his term.
Chief among Bolt’s goals has been to increase Sons membership. “Membership for us this year is job one,” he said at the Legion’s national convention in Indianapolis last August, when he announced a goal of 400,000 Sons members this year.
Sons membership as of Dec. 31 was 375,540, an increase of 4,520 members from 2018.
The LEGION Act signed into law last July expanded membership for both The American Legion and the Sons by extending eligibility periods for veterans, and subsequently for males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served honorably in the U.S. military since Dec. 7, 1941.
Bolt said at National Convention, “We must help the Legion recruit these new veterans and their families, and more importantly, welcome them to our ranks.”
He encouraged NECmen from across the nation to promote the Sons organization, and what assistance the Sons provide to The American Legion and local posts in their departments when he spoke at the Fall NEC Meetings.
Bolt noted that “more than half the posts in (The American Legion) do not have squadrons.”
As of June 30, there were 6,158 Sons squadrons among 12,624 Legion posts (48.8 percent).
Among Bolt’s other goals for his term as commander:
Continue to support the Legion’s charitable programs, Operation Comfort Warriors, Legacy Scholarship Fund, Soldiers Wish, National Emergency Fund, and the Veterans & Children’s Foundation. With an emphasis on the Veterans & Children’s Foundation, he asked that we help restore the monies used to help our Coast Guardsmen out during the government shutdown and to help The American Legion in their long term goal of $25 million.
Child Welfare Foundation. “Our goal this year is $500,000. This is our marquee program. The Sons have been the largest contributor every year since the 1980’s, we have exceeded this goal twice before.”
Maintaining membership on the VA Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee is paramount. “This membership requires that we maintain a minimum of 25 reps at our VA hospitals. The Sons have been too close to the minimum number. So, along with our Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission, we have established a goal of 50 certified reps by National Convention in Louisville.
“Now, at the midway point of our year, we stand at 37 certified with a few more that are in the certification pipeline.”
Challenge all squadrons to find ways to engage younger members. There are opportunities for them to collect unserviceable flags and participate in flag retirement ceremonies, to complete the five star and 10 ideals program.
“At National Convention, the Americanism Commission and the Children & Youth Committee will host our second youth room so we can build on including our younger members by providing them with fun activities that include education.”
Bolt added, “The national vice commanders, committees and commissions and all ‘blue cappers’ are working hard to make this the biggest year ever for the Sons of The American Legion.”