Author Topic: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL Withers?  (Read 205962 times)

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Offline pbi

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #50 on: April 23, 2010, 13:02:16 »
I was wondering when this thread would get to this debate...
After over three decades of service, I'm of two minds about the Legion. On the one hand, I gave up my membership over a decade ago, for two reasons. First, I got sick and tired of the endless attitude from WWII and Korea vets towards those of us serving in those days. It was quite clear that we were second class citizens in their minds, even though most of them had little accurate information about what the Army was actually doing, what ROEs actually were vice BS impressions, etc. No wonder so few people of my (or later) generation of soldiers bothered joining.

Second, I just didn't find anything socially attractive about the place. I understand the Legion fills a social need for some people, but nothing that they were doing really appealed to me (or my wife) very much. Not to mention that, very unfortunately, the Legions at that time seemed to be the refuge for a bunch of very pissed off, racist, anti-everything folks. Hopefully that has changed, but I wouldn't know because I don't go there anymore.


On the other hand, you can't deny that since it was created, the Legion has served a very good purpose, and has done many excellent things in hundreds of communities. In many small places, the Legion was just about the only true social centre. From what I can see, the Legion continues to do these good works. Hopefully it will be able to help with the latest generation of young soldiers who have come home from war damaged in body and mind: there is lots to be done, and the Govt isn't going to do it all.

The problem I have noticed with the Legion is that it rested on its laurels. It survived on two big "pulses" of Canadian veterans, following the two World Wars. Very few of these people were pre-war soldiers, and most did not remain in the Army after the war. They needed the kind of support structures that we take for granted in a professional Regular Army, but which were generallly not available to civilians: the Legion did a great job of filling these needs.

The Legion got a third, much smaller "pulse" after Korea, but following that there was only a constant trickle of people leaving te peacetime Regular Force (assuming that they wanted to join the Legion) The gap gradually widened between the aging Legion members and the serving soldiers (and to a certain extent perhaps even between the Legion and society at large). The interst in joining just faded away. My impression is that the Legion has realized this trend much too late: demographics are now against it, unless it continues to pursue the practice of enrolling people who never served a day in uniform in their lives, but just want to belong to something. I have a hard time imagining a mass movement by today's soldiers to join the Legion.

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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #51 on: April 23, 2010, 17:41:21 »
I have a hard time imagining a mass movement by today's soldiers to join the Legion.

Not unless they start hosting sportbike stunt competitions and Rockband / Modern Warfare 2 LAN tournaments on Playstation3.

That is sort of tongue-in-cheek, but not really.  It's to prove your point even more that there is now such a massive culture gap between the Legion and 20-year-old soldiers that making that shift to get a "pulse" of Afghan vets in there would be next to impossible.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2010, 11:07:31 by Petamocto »
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #52 on: April 24, 2010, 10:19:26 »
Not unless they start hosting sportbike stunt competitions and Raockband / Modern Warfare 2 LAN tournaments on PS3.

That is sort of tongue-in-cheek, but not really.  It's to prove your point even more that there is now such a massive culture gap between the Legion and 20-year-old soldiers that making that shift to get a "pulse" of Afghan vets in there would be next to impossible.

This alone is why I don't believe the legion will ever come to represent current serving soldiers, the culture gap is just too big.  I could never imagine going to a legion nowadays, to play what Darts... get real

The real issue that I have with the legion, I had been in my local legion back home before (Bathurst NB) and all I saw in there night after night were the local drunks and skids.  There were never any veterans or people who I wouldn't mind actually talking to, just the local drunk coming to get his fix of Golden Wedding for the night.

I am sure this isn't what all legions are like but in my hometown that was the experience I got.

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #53 on: April 24, 2010, 10:43:43 »
I have followed the site guidelines and resisted posting for four days in reply to sheikyerbouti's inflammatory post.

I have been a regular member of the RCL for 9 years now, paid my dues and that is about it. I echo most of what has been previously posted. Why I am going to a place that is out of touch with the current generation? One of the few reasons that I continue to pay my dues to the legion IS out of respect for our past veterans, and a small hope there may be a place for our current ones if they find they need a place to gather in later years.

It more polite to say that I must end my post here.  :nod:
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #54 on: April 24, 2010, 11:36:04 »
I could never imagine going to a legion nowadays, to play what Darts... get real

My wife is a member of the inter-city dart league. It's not affiliated with the RCL.
For them, it's not about going to a legion ( RCL, ANAF, Canadian Corps ). They rent the legion banquet halls, and run their own snack bars ( which are separate from the club-rooms ) for their tournaments.
For championships, they set up their boards in hotel banquet halls. 
Like bowling leagues, you have to go where the facilities are.   

There is talk of making darts an Olympic sport in 2012:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/jan/04/sport.gdnsport3
« Last Edit: April 24, 2010, 20:38:53 by mariomike »
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #55 on: April 24, 2010, 20:52:53 »
Mariomike, no offense but you are a bit older than most of the current generation of soldiers.  The majority of 20-30 year old troops back from Afghanistan do not go to a legion to play darts, cribbage etc.  It just does not interest them.
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #56 on: April 24, 2010, 21:27:57 »
Mariomike, no offense but you are a bit older than most of the current generation of soldiers.  The majority of 20-30 year old troops back from Afghanistan do not go to a legion to play darts, cribbage etc.  It just does not interest them.

If they were smart, specifically ones closer to a base, they could offer a live band night.  Canvasing to see, if any of the local troops have put together their own bands, and let them play there.  If not, get local bands in.

Turn the Legion, into a more pubby, modern joint, will definitely boost their attendance.

Modernizing the look, in that they get away from the '70's linoleum floor, wood paneling look.  Updated pictures and themes on the walls.  A fancier bar...etc etc

You can still keep the darts and cribbage, as a lot of pubs in Toronto are seeing a resurgence of these things, but they offer a lot more in a way of entertainment.

dileas

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #57 on: April 24, 2010, 21:34:45 »
Mariomike, no offense but you are a bit older than most of the current generation of soldiers.  The majority of 20-30 year old troops back from Afghanistan do not go to a legion to play darts, cribbage etc.  It just does not interest them.

No offence taken, Dangerboy. The birthday candles are now starting to cost more than the cake!  ;D

The league is not affiliated with the legion. Likewise, the legion is not affiliated with the league.
The league plays in the banquet room, with their own snack bar. Separate from the club room.

I'm not a member of the league, but their average age - from what I have seen over the years - is in their thirties. 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 19:12:42 by mariomike »
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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #58 on: April 24, 2010, 21:38:28 »
48th,

I agree with your intent but not your SoM; even live bands might miss the mark for < 30.

Any Legion decision makers out there, I'm telling you: Playstation 3 tournaments of Rockband, Gran Turismo 5 (due out soon), and COD Modern Warfare...I'm givin' ya pearls, here!
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #59 on: April 24, 2010, 21:52:58 »
Modernizing the look, in that they get away from the '70's linoleum floor, wood paneling look.  Updated pictures and themes on the walls.  A fancier bar...etc etc

I love my RCL branch exactly the way it is. It was built in 1927.
Everything is changing so fast these days.   
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #60 on: April 24, 2010, 21:57:07 »
48th,

I agree with your intent but not your SoM; even live bands might miss the mark for < 30.

Any Legion decision makers out there, I'm telling you: Playstation 3 tournaments of Rockband, Gran Turismo 5 (due out soon), and COD Modern Warfare...I'm givin' ya pearls, here!


I agree,

But Nofriendo, will not be the only thing that can get them.  Most Troops have large screen T.V's and All the latest games, and can play them in their underwear in the shacks while they drink beers.

You need to offer something, that they can not have at home, and draw them out.  Go to any bar in Toronto, Ottawa etc, and the ones with live bands are packed with people of all ages.  Even the bands that can't hold a tune.

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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #61 on: April 24, 2010, 21:59:03 »
I love my RCL branch exactly the way it is. It was built in 1927.

You are bang on with the ambiance that a place offers.  There are several old messes in Canada that are beautiful and made with enough rich wood that it would cost millions today to build, but I think you can still have a vintage building and do modern things inside.
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Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #62 on: April 24, 2010, 21:59:52 »
I love my RCL branch exactly the way it is. It was built in 1927.

That's the whole problem, second and third-generation Legionaires who grew up in the Legions of the 1950s, 60s and 70s want it to be just the same forever - and then cannot understand why new generations of veterans don't want to turn back the clock to join a service club that's 50 years out of synch with their lives and expending energy to raise money to fund buildings and activity schedules that haven't changed in decades.

Everything is changing so fast these days.

Yes, and institutions that don't evolve die.

Offline pbi

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #63 on: April 25, 2010, 11:08:32 »
Quote
Yes, and institutions that don't evolve die.

This is it, right here: it happened to Eaton's department stores (another Canadian icon), and it's happening to the Legion.

Maybe the Legion can re-invent itself in time to avoid oblivion, but would "re-invention" be suppported by its current membership? Would it even look like the Royal Canadian Legion anymore?

Cheers
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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #64 on: April 25, 2010, 11:40:40 »
Looking forward 20 years, I wonder what the hypothetical situation would be if the Legion did go under.

All those good initiatives and scholarships stopping.

Somehow the military will end up being the bad guy, and media will spin it like soldiers are taking money away from students (it won't be "thank you for the scholarships for the last 70 years", it will be "we made financial decisions based on counting on this money here and now you're taking that from us").
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #65 on: April 25, 2010, 11:51:48 »
Perhaps the issue is that the legion has evolved.  It has seen branches evolve from being ex-service member's clubs providing a place for returned service members to connect with peers into local service clubs that emphasize support to community activities. Its membership has evolved away from a focus on ex-service members to a concentration of those who join to support local initiatives (although traditional Legion programs which focus on the aging veterans (like housing for vets) are maintained). Those Legions that have been described as social centres in small communities have become just that - which is not the same as an ex-service members' club - and that role is not dependent on them being Legion branches no matter how important it has become in those communities.

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #66 on: April 25, 2010, 12:19:46 »
Take a look at a RSL near Overwatch Downunder's home on Bribie Island.

I could easily see myself wanting to take advantage of what this club is offering.  :)

Check out the Facilities:

http://www.bribiersl.com.au/

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #67 on: April 25, 2010, 13:12:27 »
Take a look at a RSL near Overwatch Downunder's home on Bribie Island.

I could easily see myself wanting to take advantage of what this club is offering.  :)

Check out the Facilities:

http://www.bribiersl.com.au/

It looks good. I checked the demographics of Birbie:
"The median age of persons was 55 years, compared with 37 years for all of Australia."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bribie_Island#Demographics

Then I checked the eligibilty requirements for the Returned and Services League RSL of Australia:
http://www.rsl.org.au/
Similar to Ordinary membership in Canada:
http://www.legion.ca/Membership/who_e.cfm#canord

1977: "Bribie Island RSL constructed and opened its doors. Established as a proud tribute and memorial to all who fought in the wars. Membership was limited to returned service personnel. Entry restricted to returned service personnel and bona fide visitors."

1982: "The Bribie Island RSL Club changed its name to the “Bribie Island RSL & Citizens Memorial Club”. The Bribie RSL was the first club in Queensland to undertake this controversial but very significant change. Membership rights extended to the general public.":
http://www.bribiersl.com.au/default.asp?PageID=9&n=History

Q: Do I have to be a member of an ex-service organisation to become a member?
A: No. Members of the community are welcome to join as Club Members, which allows them to access the benefits of regular Club membership.:
http://www.bribiersl.com.au/default.asp?PageID=30&n=FAQs+26+Answers

It looks like a nice club. But, where does that leave the young veteran?   
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 15:05:13 by mariomike »
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #68 on: April 25, 2010, 18:42:09 »
The RSL organisation,and RSL clubs are two different creatures. The sub-branch is manned by former ADF pers, and the club is magaged by mainly business people to ensure a proper run place.

All RSL clubs hve a sub-branch, where Vets can access everything they need from councilling, to Vet's services, to make claims for injuries, etc. See the membership details for the club, but membership to the RSL is for serving and former Defence Force members only.

Bribie has the highest population per capita in the country of Viet Nam Vets, along with this, with the ever expanding 'greater Brisbane' (being 65km from the city), the demographics are slowly changing, and a younger local population is emerging. The majority of working people commute, and many ADF pers live here, and choose to retire here. Also many retirees of the the 70's and 80's, who are WW2 and Korea vets live here, as the island has alawys been a retrement mecca.

As for the younger Vets, like myself, since the club propsers the way it does, subsidied meals for members, cheaper drinks, and a vast variety of entertainment, along with the 'pokies' (VLT's) makes it a truly vibraint, bright, profitable place, full of people to meet and socialise (of all ages).


Here is a few pics of the club I took yesterday. Not bad for a population of around 16,000. Most evenings, especially weekends, its busy like this, and a hub of social activity and meeting place for all ages.

Today's RSLs are evidence of a changing time, and will always be around. Canada should learn from it's sister organisation.

Here is a link to the housing estate I live on, still advancing and developing, and a great place, all to encourage new younger families. http://www.pacificharbour.com.au/ Also this place http://www.pacificharbourgolf.com.au/main_golf.php

Cheers,

OWDU
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 18:47:56 by Overwatch Downunder »
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #69 on: April 25, 2010, 19:09:58 »
That sure as  hell is not the Legion of my memory from MacLeod.  While is does to my eyes look like a service club, it is a modern service club.  Clean, trendy and not a outdated place for soaks and dart players.  I could see myself darkening the door way there.  (Unlike what is available for me here on the Eastern Shore.  Nice folks I am sure, but they won't see me for dust)  The Legion of my memory does not appeal to me.

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #70 on: April 25, 2010, 19:17:50 »
To top it off, yesterday, the BI RSL was a MILF's heaven, so many single chicks and yes, cougars, on the prowl. A :warstory: that deserves to be told, truly, ha!

Cheers,

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #71 on: April 25, 2010, 19:25:53 »

Gee another Legion bashing thread and it's not even Nov 11th yet. I'm with Recce, Mr. O'Leary, OWDU and Pet on this and yeah for the record I'm an ordinary member too.

*Edit* : Clipped the rest of your post for brevity.

With OWDU's repost from earlier legion threads in response to sheikyerbouti's self appointed posting history of defending Vancouver's RCL, this thread has run it's course IMO.
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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #72 on: April 25, 2010, 20:03:58 »
Rehashed perhaps, but not reposted. I find the thread very informative to others including myself, and if anything helps the failing pathetic Legion, why not? Healthy input is simply that.

If the RCL wishes recover, ratehr than die a slow death, the organisation needs to learn from similar Veteran's organisations who seen the fall coming years ago.

Opinions are like AH's, we all got them, but if you don't think this debate is valid, thats fair enough.

OWDU

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #73 on: April 25, 2010, 21:36:55 »
If they were smart, specifically ones closer to a base, they could offer a live band night.  Canvasing to see, if any of the local troops have put together their own bands, and let them play there.  If not, get local bands in.

Turn the Legion, into a more pubby, modern joint, will definitely boost their attendance.

Modernizing the look, in that they get away from the '70's linoleum floor, wood paneling look.  Updated pictures and themes on the walls.  A fancier bar...etc etc

You can still keep the darts and cribbage, as a lot of pubs in Toronto are seeing a resurgence of these things, but they offer a lot more in a way of entertainment.

dileas

tess

I agree with this, If legions would modernize their facilities, get some good pub food, maybe play some sports on the tele I would consider going.

IPetamocto is right though PS3, XBox that is the crap that will draw todays young soldiers to the legion.  I would even add throwing Ultimate Fighting Championship for free that would draw people in droves.  The Beer sales would more then make up for the price of airing the event.

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Re: Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL withers?
« Reply #74 on: April 26, 2010, 17:50:23 »
I agree with this, If legions would modernize their facilities, get some good pub food, maybe play some sports on the tele I would consider going.

So true. It's a well accepted business  practice that you keep abreast of your competition. The Legion needs to determine what the competition offers that attracts their customers, and offer those activities. I'm with OWDU, I think the Legion, through modernization, can become the social focus of the community and still provide the services to veterans that it always did.
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