Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Commander's Column for March 2015 - Alabama Division Vision 2016 Initiative

Attended the Alabama Division Executive Committee meeting on Saturday February 28th at Dalraida Methodist Church in Montgomery.  After the Invocation by Chaplain Baker and the pledges to the Alabama State and Confederate Battle flags, Chief of Staff Russ Hare led everyone in Dixie playing his acoustic guitar.  Russ then made a brief presentation on Vision 2016, the SCVs initiative to grow membership and become recognized as the preeminent authority on Southern heritage and American liberty issues.  The National SCV GEC identified twelve areas of the organization which need attention in order to reach the Vision 2016 goals and five of these were highlighted as priorities, Education, Training, Marketing, Public Relations and Growth.
The Alabama Division has chosen to concentrate on Education and Marketing so a brainstorming session was conducted at the EC meeting where the attendees were separated into two groups to elicit ideas to advance these two areas.  For Marketing the top ideas were 1) to erect more flagpoles and signs, 2) sponsor golf or fishing tournaments, and 3) produce professional public service announcements for the Alabama Sons of Confederate Veterans.  1st Lt Jimmy Hill subsequently provided details on the Flags 4 Alabama program where the Division will purchase a 30 foot flagpole and the first flag for qualified projects/sites.  The Division website will be updated with further information for this program including project checklists. The Dragoons have identified the erection of a flag in Millbrook as one camp project to complete this year and this is in process with 1st Lt Booth checking on legal aspects including a deed for the required plot and Danny Smyth has volunteered to lead the effort for the installation of the flagpole.
The Education brainstorming group prioritized their top three ideas as 1) the development of educational material specifically for young people, 2) conduct Division workshops to explain the Cause and, 3) develop a list of talking points for Division camps and members to explain and justify the SCV and the Cause.  In the past, Tyrone Crowley and Commander Waldo’s wife Kerri have made presentations at Victory Baptist School and additional presentations are being scheduled for this spring to include providing Confederate coloring books to the students; these books are available from the Division and the Dragoons should invest in a supply of these for stores. An Education Officer’s position would be beneficial to advance these educational goals, responsible for delivering the Division educational posters and flyers for the area Living History events to local schools and helping to possibly coordinate more class presentations. 
Lt. Commander in Chief Tom Strain then presented a lineup of initiatives to help address membership recruitment and retention, another of the Vision 2016 goals, to grow the organization.  These included automatic draft of membership dues, an optional 3-year renewal term, creation of a Social Media Specialist position at the National level, streaming DEC meetings to the Divisions and camps, developing mobile device apps, producing widgets or goodies which can be distributed to camps to enhance recruiting events as promotional giveaways, branding the SCV and using it for product labeling including for instance bottled water, expanding the widespread use of the #ALSCV and #SCV Twitter hashtags for broadcasting communications, and creating an SCV television station utilizing a web based provider like Vimeo.  The Dragoons are well positioned utilizing social media including our blog website, Twitter and Facebook accounts but these fresh ideas are good concepts for helping recruitment efforts and growing SCV membership. 
All these initiatives are fantastic for meeting the goals of Vision 2016 and advancing the Cause but, they need ownership, follow-thru.  At the bottom of the EC Meeting agenda, a statement read, “Being right with no action is like a garden only filled with weeds.”  I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to fill positions of leadership and project ownership in the camp over the past year and those who have expressed interest in filling roles in the upcoming elections and other positions of need.  I am honored to serve with you all and to be associated with such an outstanding group of men as the Prattville Dragoons as together we advance the Cause.
Stuart Waldo

SCV Camp 1524 Commander

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