Five Washington State Society members attended the 126th National Congress including Cris Bisgard (Nonja), Jim Lindley (Teri), Bob Doughty (Alt. Trustee), John Berg (VPG Pacific District) and myself (Kathi).
New PG Michael Tomme Inaugural Remarks
At the Spring Leadership and Trustees meeting, the Trustees voted to pay the final installment of the interpretive plan to Solid Light and approved moving ahead with the Educational Outreach Center, when they have the money in hand. PG Tomme will continue the Implementation Committee that past PG Lawrence started.
He is continuing the following committees and programs:
Compatriot Doug Collins will continue as chair the Patriot Ancestors’ Biographies. PG Brock will chair SAR Medal of Honor Recipients and work to finish this project. Compatriot Chuck Sweeney will chair the Veterans Recognition Committee. Compatriot Paul Callanan will chair the Congress Review Committee. Compatriot Dr. Rudy Byrd will chair the Council of Youth Awards. Compatriot John Dodd will chair the Governance and Organization Committee.
Education Outreach Initiative: He noted, an important part of SAR mission is patriotic education and to share our knowledge of the founding of our country and the struggles of our forefathers and ancestors. His first initiative is to extend a new Educational Outreach Team into our chapters and reach out to the children in their schools, scout organizations, civil groups, religious institutions, and other patriotic societies. The long range goal of this initiative is to develop and share educational program presentations by SAR members. Details can found on the National SAR website. There will be two levels of the program, (1) for those chapters who have never offered an educational outreach program and (2) for those chapters who already have an educational program in place.
Mentor Program Initiative: He asked, when does the mentor process begin? It begins when a new prospective member seeks information on becoming a member of the SAR by a casual conversation, email inquiry, or responding to an ad in local paper. At that time, the process should be “an offer to assist or a referral to a mentor in the chapter.” Chapter President should have a list of mentors in the chapter to assist in this endeavor. Each chapter should have mentors regardless of the size of the chapter. The mentor should assist the applicant through the process of acceptance and continue on once he becomes a member to assimilate the new member ensuring a meaningful relationship with current members. He also noted, the retention rate may be significantly increased by involving a new member in the activities of the chapter, state and national level through “mentoring” of new members. He has the National Membership Committee spear heading this project.
Youth Programs Initiative: The Council of Youth Awards has put together a brochure listing all Youth Awards. Additional money is required to increase the awards provided by the various programs. He issued a challenge to each State Society to donate $1,000.00 or more to the Council of Youth Awards (not to the individual youth programs) between now and 1 June 2017. Those states that meet the $1,000 challenge will receive a streamer. If 100% of the state societies donate $1,000, he will personally donate $10,000 or more. The total donations would then be divided among the various youth programs with us.
Children of the American Revolution: He asked National Chairman Darrin Schmidt to make sure that each State Society has a State CAR Chairman. He wants the State CAR Chairman to encourage each chapter to create a CAR Liaison and chapters should encourage SAR members to become Senior Leaders in the local and state CAR societies. Mike wants each SAR chapter to enroll CAR members as Junior Members in our society. Once they become SAR Junior Members, the chapters are encouraged to get them involved in our committees and marching in patriotic parades.
National Park Service: This year the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th year of service. It’s an opportunity for the National Historic Site and Celebrations Committee to build our relationship with the Park Service and partner with them in their year of celebration. The Park Service is engaging in a campaign to reintroduce the national parks and the work of the National Park Service to a new generation of Americans. Many of our American Revolutionary historic sites are maintained by the Park Service and with our increased involvement, this would bring increased visibility and promotion of the SAR to a potential new member base.
Branding: A motion to use the National Society headquarters Minuteman Statue as our image passed. A motion to use “SAR” in our state society names, contests, and etc., passed. For example, Washington SAR. A motion to use the proposed Minuteman symbol was not adopted. The word adopt was replaced by “encourage” and the motion to use the minuteman symbol passed giving flexibility to state societies to use their own minuteman symbol.
Youth Contests: Most of the national society winners were “eagle scouts.” Perhaps this is where we should get contest entries.
Familysearch: PG talked about how to pay for digitalizing old applications. Options include donations, volunteers and raise dues by $2. A motion passed to complete a contract with familysearch to scan in record copies. Trustees will make the final decision. It will take 2 to 3 years to complete. National needs to buy a scanner for $11,000.00 to scan records.
Committees: National PG Tom Lawrence had committees set goals. Perhaps we should ask our state society committees to set goals.
National webpage: SAR Store is about 98% complete on the new national webpage. Donor, events, dues, and patriot Genealogical Research System (GRS) modules are coming out next.
National Fees and Dues: Remain unchanged.
Swearing-In: Our Vice President General (VPG) Pacific District John Berg and our Alternate Trustee were both sworn in. Trustee John Ellingson Sr. will be sworn in later.
Douglas H. Nelson President, Washington SAR Sons of the American Revolution