Starting a new Squadron
The two most important things to consider as you prepare to start a new Sons of The American Legion Squadron are: research and planning. It is essential that you know as much as possible about the community before establishing a new Squadron. Community size, Legion Post history, annual events and activities are all part of the planning process.
The first step in starting a new S.A.L. Squadron is the establishment of a Post S.A.L. Committee, usually consisting of three to five Legion members, appointed by the Post Commander. A Committee Chairman should be selected to provide leadership and to assign tasks to Committee members. This Committee is responsible for recruiting S.A.L. members, organizing the Squadron and conducting S.A.L. Squadron activities with the sponsoring Post. The Committee should establish a plan of action, including a calendar of activities which allows you to set goals, such as recruiting 20 members in 20 days.
The second step in the process is to request an Application for Squadron Charter from Department Headquarters. Department Headquarters will furnish individual application blanks and applications for charter on request from any American Legion Post in the Department. There is only one form of charter, and there is no fee charged in connection with its issuance. A Post cannot sponsor more than one Squadron of the Sons of The American Legion. Both internal and external communications are necessary when developing a new Squadron. Internal communications should be maintained with the officers of the sponsoring Post. It is important that your external audience also remains informed. Keep all members of your Legion Post, as well as surrounding Posts that lack S.A.L. Squadrons, notified of your progress and activities. They can assist by letting others know a new Squadron is being established and help with the referral process.
The first step in a successful recruiting campaign is to develop a list of eligible individuals using the Post Membership Roster. A letter of invitation should be sent to every Post member asking their sons and grandsons to become members of the new S.A.L. Squadron. Included with each letter should be a S.A.L. Brochure and Membership Application. Follow up phone calls can be made to those who did not respond to the letter. Signed membership applications and dues should be collected from those who wish to join.
Completing the Process
Once you've received applications and dues for ten members, its time to complete and submit the Application for Squadron Charter. The Post Commander signs the application signifying the Post's endorsement of the application. The signed Charter Application along with ten SAL. membership applications and a check for the amount of National and Detachment dues are all transmitted to Department Headquarters.
Once Department Headquarters approves the Charter Application, it is sent to National Headquarters which issues the new Squadron's Charter and mails it to the Post Commander or Post S.A.L. Chairman.
Following the submission of the Charter Application, an organizational meeting should be held for the members of the new Squadron. Several important tasks need to be accomplished during this meeting. First and foremost is the adoption of a Squadron Constitution and By-Laws. A suggested form for a Squadron Constitution and By-Laws is included in the S.A.L. Handbook. The election of Squadron officers, adoption of a meeting schedule (day, time and place) and presentation of a calendar of events will complete the agenda for this meeting. In addition, S.A.L. Squadron Handbooks should be distributed to each member present at the meeting.
Once the Squadron charter has been issued and received, an initiation meeting should be held. New members admitted into the Sons of The American Legion should be initiated with full ceremony. First impressions are the most lasting impressions. An S.A.L. uniform cap, Squadron Membership Card and embroidered emblem patch should be presented to each member as part of the initiation ceremony.
Arrangements should be made to have an American Legion Department Officer or S.A.L. Detachment Officer formally present the new Squadron's Charter. The visiting Legion or S.A.L. member should make a narrative presentation on the history of the S.A.L. and it's program of service.
Perhaps the biggest benefit one receives as a member of the Sons is the satisfaction of knowing you are helping others in your community and elsewhere. However, there are also some tangible benefits available through commercial vendors. Sons are eligible for almost all of the same discounts that are available to members of The American Legion. Just click here to look at a list of many consumer benefits available to members of The Legion Family.