By: Pat Smith, Department Adjutant

Happy New year to all! The new year will hold many new challenges for The American Legion. But, what else is new. For over 93 years our members have faced the challenges with determination and excitement. We will begin this year with the same spirit that has permeated our organization since 1919.

Our first major event for this year will be the mid-year conference in Longmont, CO, January 26-29, 2012. Our Thursday event will focus on finding employment for veterans, teaching veterans about their choices in the market place and helping to navigate the Veterans Administration system. This event will take place from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Thursday January 26 at the Plaza hotel in Longmont. You can find more information on this event in the pages of this Observer publication.

The mid-year is a time for all of our committee’s and leaders to get together to asses our progress and success in all of our programs. It becomes the time to make any course corrections as we complete the Legion year in June of 2012. The Oratorical Committee, Boys State Committee, Baseball Committee and the Service Office will hold sessions to educate our members on those programs. All of this will take place on Saturday January 28. In addition to that there will be an update on the legislative issues that will face us in the future. We expect to get a status report on the new VA hospital scheduled for construction on the Fitzsimons campus in Aurora.

A real important session at the mid-year is the mini-college, which will be held on Saturday at 1:15 pm. The leadership committee will be instructing our members on the basics of the organization to include, structure, resolutions, constitution and by-laws, program and the four pillars. There is something for everyone at this session. Be sure to attend.

Friday evening will be the 4th annual U.S. Army troop induction ceremony. The U S Army Recruiting Command in Denver will induct about 130 brand new troops. Although this is an Army event the American Legion is proud to sponsor and support the event. Be sure to be there and meet these new troops and their parents. This is part of our re-connect effort with our troops. National Vice Commander Merv Gunderson will be a featured speaker.

As the year rolls along the District Conventions will become the focus. This is truly the grass roots level of the organization. At the district conventions the delegates will consider resolutions that can affect our policy, both at the state and national level. And, they will elect new leadership. Check with your district commander and plan on attending your convention.

Then in June, in Grand Junction, the delegates to the department convention will consider those resolutions forwarded by the districts, and they will elect your new state officers and a new Legion year will begin.

So the next 6 months will be busy. Your involvement is important. If you are not attending your local post meetings make it a point to add those dates on your calendar. We can be successful only if we are involved. If you have any questions email our public relations department at theobserver@coloradolegion.org. Should you have a more immediate need for information don’t hesitate to call at 303 366-5201 or toll free at 800 477-1655. Until then may you have a great 2012!