Commander's Column: A Confederate Summer
The heat of the summer found us enjoying the Sesquicentennial and fellowship with compatriots at the Forrest Birthday party at Fort Dixie in Selma and the 118th National Reunion in Vicksburg. If you attended either of these events, you surely were inspired by the programs and messages, that we must continue the fight for preservation of our Confederate heritage. And now we are in the midst of our annual Dixie Smoked-Butt camp fundraiser which provides the means for us to do our part, contributing to historic flag and artifacts preservation at the Alabama State Archives and the First White House, helping to renovate and set flags at Confederate veteran’s cemeteries, and many more activities. These funds are critical for carrying on the grassroots local effort which typifies the Sons of Confederate Veterans' operations to answer the Charge, so I am excited that the latest report indicates we will again set a record for proceeds from the sale.
The convention in Vicksburg presented information about the Vision 2016 initiative which sets the goal for growing membership by 20,000 and positions the SCV as the preeminent authority for Confederate history and Southern heritage preservation. Vision 2016 is a bottom-up grassroots effort where best practices for creating dynamic initiatives and growing camps are shared across the organization instead of the Executive Committee dictating ideas and plans. A key to preserving cohesion and synergy and leveraging the strength of our thousands of members is to utilize all means of communication to project ideas from everyone through camp and Division newsletters, the Confederate Veteran magazine, email, the myriad social media outlets, and cloud libraries on-line to share documents like the Camp Handbook. An exciting development at the convention was the change in name and mission from Heritage Defense to Heritage Operations. This signifies a change in direction from a reactionary posture to one where we promote our Confederate heritage through education and carry our message to the public and the fight to our critics.
The funds we generate through our Dixie Butt Sale are important to answer the Charge. Initiatives to get our message out to our communities include school initiatives like educational programs and JROTC awards, scholarships, the aforementioned social media presence, advertisements for our events and meetings, and parades, as well as membership in the local Chamber of Commerce. But I have also discovered that the simple act of asking coworkers and neighbors and family whether they would like to purchase a Dixie Butt opens the door to conversations regarding our mission, the SCV Charge, genealogy, camp meetings and even membership. Thanks for all your hard work and generosity for making the Dixie Butt fundraiser an unqualified success so that we can continue the work of our camp and make our ancestors proud that we continue the fight for Southern heritage. This is also the time of the year for renewing our membership in this noble organization and of course I would encourage everyone to do so and redouble your efforts to attract new members to help achieve the Vision 2016 goals.