Norquay Legion branch hosts zone rally

            A total of 33 members of the Royal Canadian Legion, representing seven branches, attended the Legion’s zone rally in Norquay on March 26.

            The Norquay Legion hosted the event starting with a fantastic lunch followed by the meeting, said Jim Woodward of Kamsack, the zone commander.

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Representatives of each of the seven branches gave very informative briefings on the status of their branches, said Woodward, who was the chair of the meeting. Also attending was Carol Pederson of Star City, the district commander.

Woodward presented Laura Dahl, president of the Norquay branch, with a certificate of appreciation “for all the great work the Norquay branch has done.”

Addressing the newer members in his remarks, Woodward said that the Legion is made up of commands, districts, zones and branches.

Saskatchewan has four districts and each district has four zones, he said. “We are in D4Z1. Saskatchewan has 171 branches, our zone has 13.”

The communities of Theodore, Lintlaw and Rose Valley have no Legion buildings; Preeceville, Kelvington and Wadena each has a small space in their community centres, and Springside, Sheho, Foam Lake, Canora and Norquay have small stand-alone buildings.

The Kamsack Legion Hall is in a heritage house with three floors that includes a museum, but it needs a lift in order to allow disabled members to access the clubhouse, he said. The Yorkton hall is the only one of the 13 communities that has a lounge.

Over half the branches that operated a lounge last year ran with a deficit, he said. “I have found in my research every branch that meets once a month for the 10 operating months of the year struggles.

“We all complain of the same problems: aging membership, a sufficient number of volunteers and money. We all struggle to get a fair share of the dollars spent in our communities but we remain as the prime service group in many areas.

“Many get miffed with the Legion Magazine,” he said. “For example, I have been a member for 53 years and our zone finally got pictures published in the last magazine on Page 78; well done.

“Social media is what is going to keep the Legion alive. Yorkton, Canora and Kamsack have active Facebook pages. We all promote veterans, community news and branch interest points. We share each other’s interests and it has taken the ‘we/they’ aspect out of our branches.

“Kamsack is on Twitter and because of that, our events quite often are re-posted on the Saskatchewan Command’s site. Our whole zone needs to do this to survive. I have noticed the followers on social media are getting younger and with this I believe our membership will attract people in the 30 to 50 age group as our next leaders.

“I believe the Legion in each community needs to actively work as the social voice within all community service groups and promote the community as a whole,” he said.

Everyone in attendance was invited to the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge service and tea being held at the Kamsack Legion on April 9. The Kamsack Legion will be the host of the district rally on April 30.