Getting Back to Basics
By DANIEL B. BRANCH JR., Navy League National President
The Navy League of the United States, like other nonprofit
advocacy and community service
and outreach organizations, experiences times of economic strife on a
most fundamental level — membership. Yet while the inherent challenges in recruiting and retaining
members become magnified, they
are by no means insurmountable.
It is under such circumstances
that individual Navy League members, councils and area, regional and
national leaders should reflect, take
stock and then go back to basics.
Ask yourself this: Why did I join
the Navy League and would that
reason resonate with a prospective member today? If
not, then what would?
It’s time for each council to take a hard look at its programs and what they offer not only to members of the sea
services and the community at large, but also to council
members. A vibrant, active council is one whose members
are energized and excited about the message, the mission
and the means by which they are delivered and executed.
Does your message resonate with the next generation of Navy League members and leaders who can
carry the torch of support and advocacy for our men
and women in uniform?
That next generation is concerned about social
responsibility, community activism, the environment. Do
you have activities and programs that will speak to them,
energize them and spur them to get involved? What
Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine
programs and activities is your council supporting or
involved with that will engage this next generation?
One example of an issue that touches the heart of every
citizen is the wounded warrior, and the Navy League has
a program that allows members to serve as mentors to
them. As Seapower Deputy Editor Peter Atkinson explains
in his Navy League News report on page 60, the Navy
League has established the Anchor Program mentor support partnership with Navy Safe Harbor to help seriously
wounded service members readjust to civilian life.
While this program is on a national scale, similar men-
tor and outreach programs can be implemented on the
local level, where council members
serve as mentors, helping hands or
simply as friends to men and women
recently separated from military
service, a sort of peer-to-peer net-
SEAPOWER / SEPTEMBER 2010