I was able to attend my first Alabama Division EC meeting on Saturday March 1st. There were many inspirational stories and good information. Chaplain Dr. Baker and Commander Gary Carlyle’s messages for me summarized the theme of the meeting. Dr. Baker reminded us all that we are an organization of men of like mind and Commander Carlyle reminded us we should use our gifts to further the Cause as the South is the hope of the USA and the SCV is the hope of the South. This is the mantra for Vision 2016 meant to grow the SCV membership. Growing the camp and the SCV takes time, effort and money but one straightforward way to grow the camp is by encouraging relatives to join and encourage our children and grandchildren thru the Cadet Program and the Sam Davis Youth Camp. Camps are encouraged to sponsor a youth to attend the Sam Davis Camps. Commander Carlyle presented Tyrone with a photo for the library of the state capital building with the Confederate flag flying atop the dome saying when it came down we lost a little of ourselves and our heritage. Commander Carlyle added, we need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and the uphill battle against the politically correct revisionists and roll up our sleeves and get to work. The SCV needs to be here and “We Dare Defend Our Rights”.
I was asked by Brigade Commander Bill Myrick to nominate camp members for awards and recognition by the Brigade and Division. We are fortunate to have a camp of great members who have and continue to advance the Cause but there are always more opportunities to help. Commander Gary Carlyle issued Order No. 307 meant to address misappropriation of funds which has apparently happened in some camps; we are fortunate to have men of unquestionable integrity serving as Adjutant and Treasurer. But for instance, we need a couple additional volunteers for the library at Confederate Memorial Park. This is rewarding service where people from out of the country and above the Mason Dixon line go out of their way to find the park off I-65. 386 visitors interested in Confederate history stopped by in the past half year including visitors from CO, AZ, IL and IN in just one day. Most of the men on the I-65 Flag Committee are from our camp including Chairman Larry Spears. Past Commander Wyatt Willis was recognized for his founding efforts. The Guardian Program was highlighted which Larry just joined. Members document a Confederate grave and then provide ongoing care. Camps can also join and the Indian Hills Cemetery provides a great opportunity but someone is needed to lead this effort.
What can you do to carry the Charge and further the Cause? Obviously membership renewal is perhaps your most important contribution. The SCV car tag also provides funds directly to support the SCV and the I-65 flag project. Karl Wade and Harold Grooms are leading a reminder calling initiative to help increase attendance at our camp meetings which should be prioritized by everyone. Well attended, friendly, interesting meetings is one of the best ways to grow and keep our membership. But, as Commander Carlyle reminded us, we all have gifts and abilities which we should use to further the Cause. The Brigade reports provided many ideas which other camps in the Division are using including Confederate Memorial Day observances, cemetery care, Lee-Jackson banquets, Christmas parties, smoke butt fund raisers, new Confederate monuments, new camps, parades, reenactments and color guards and living histories, school programs and JROTC awards, bands, flag restoration, recruiting ( including gun show tables and festivals), volunteering at museums, restoring meeting houses, 5k run fundraisers, musters and fellowships. One camp recruits at the Tannehill Ironworks State Park. The Mechanized Cavalry conducts numerous charity fundraising rides including one benefitting the North Alabama Children’s Home. There are many opportunities to participate and lead a project or initiative. 1st Lt Commander Jimmy Hill mentioned a “What Works in the SCV” which is a compilation of ideas others throughout the SCV are using for membership growth and to advance the Cause. Everyone’s ideas and everyone’s energy and participation is valued. The 1st Lt Commander hinted or suggested that the Prattville or Tallassee camps need to consider hosting the 2015 Division Reunion. This would be a monumental effort requiring assistance from our entire camp. Everyone’s ideas and everyone’s energy and participation is needed.
The Alabama Division has 61 camps and 1668 members including 164 life members with 2 new camps and one developing in Phoenix City. In this historical Sesquicentennial period greater growth should be expected. There is a new AL Division SCV branding initiative and new advertising campaign but recruiting happens at the local camp level. 2nd Lt Commander Carl Jones reminded everyone that the South and our Confederate ancestors were right and contended for the same truths and liberty as our colonial founding fathers. The Constitution was FOR the United States of America, not OF the United States. The Charge implores us to vindicate the Cause. The ideals of the Confederate soldier we are Charged to cherish are very relevant today with the expansion of government and decline in our country’s moral foundation. Consider what you can do for the Dragoons, for the SCV and for your Confederate ancestor.