NCOA members & fellow veterans:
It was one of the most significant moments in my life when I was selected to fill the position of Chairman of your International Board of Directors. I can pledge to all of you that NCOA is looking to move into the next century for you. All service organizations are struggling for membership and purpose. Many are chained to their past and reluctant if not fearful of the road ahead. The past is our legacy and cannot be forgotten, but without a future, our legacy will fade away when we do. Failure is not an option and I commit to each of you that I and your Board will work tirelessly to ensure that we have a future.
How are we going to do that? The most important thing we need to do is listen! Look at programs, benefits, ideas that help us provide support for our troops. We are not going to forget how we got to where we are but we will make a serious commitment to the needs of our Active Duty and Reserve/National Guard forces as they are facing societal changes that most of us couldn’t even imagine when we served. We all need to ask and not assume that we know what makes todays forces tick. We need to think about things that include family rather than just focus on the troops. Many of today’s force have families and with the numerous deployments that have occurred, asking our troops to go to a meeting that takes them away from their families that they have been away from is not likely to be successful. Family events like BBQ’s, picnics, pizza parties etc. can bring the whole family together.
The recent conference in Washington DC was recorded live and has been posted on NCOA’s Facebook page. Check it out and hear what the SEAC and the rest of the E-10’s had to say about our forces and the significant role NCOA can play in supporting our troops. When your chapters have a function, do a live feed on your phone and post it to Facebook. Send stories about what your chapter or group is doing and send them to NCOA to put on our website.
I am accessible and want to hear from you. I am your chairman and your Board is here for you. We need to hear your ideas and thoughts. I can assure you that they will not fall on deaf ears. Send your ideas about groups and projects that NCOA can work with to make us more in tuned with today’s military. We need to rekindle the excitement within our membership. You joined for a reason. Remember what it was and go and recruit someone else so that they can experience that same feeling. Our membership director, SGM Joe Terry is the right person at the right time to grow this association, but he needs your help. I need your help! I pledge to you that I will do everything possible to meet “your” needs. Start thinking outside the box. It can really become an exciting experience.
Chapters need to become more visible. Knights need to start leading. I can tell you that your Board of Directors is engaged. How about you? We are looking all over the country for locations to hold our 2019 annual conference. We are looking to hold costs down and have activities for families. Start looking forward to July 2019. Every single chapter should send a minimum of one member. We are not going back to Las Vegas and are looking towards the center of the country to cut down on travel.
Strength in Unity and Leadership By Example,
Terry M. Haines
MCPO USNR (Ret)
Chairman, Board of Directors
Non Commissioned Officers Association
“NCOA is the Vanguard of all Veterans… Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!”
I want to expand on my last column a bit. It started off with a sharing of the significant accomplishments of Rogue Chapter members over the past year. It then switched to explaining the rationale for why my older generation felt it was important to share with those who come after us why we do what we do. Finally it went on to share some specific examples of what I had done to find out what types of things were important to a small sample of younger people as motivation to ignite a conversation with other younger people that could possibly lead to a resurgence of NCOA moving forward. My final thought was to charge all that read the article to share their ideas with me so that we could make changes to what we do and why we do it. I then asked to hear from you!
I made one fatal flaw. I failed to properly communicate. The article was posted to a website with the assumption that members would go to the website and read it; then respond. My flaw was that I assumed that it would be read and acted upon. The real flaw was that I assumed the entire chapter membership
knew what the website address was and would take the time to go there and read it. It didn’t happen. In the old days when we sent newsletters to all of our members, my columns would be mailed to everyone and most members read them. By going high tech we eliminated the certainty of chapter leadership being able to receive information and make a choice as to whether to react. Now communication requires a conscious act on the part of each member to seek out information and it also requires that each member be motivated to want to stay connected.
Communication is such a simple process but it has gotten more complicated with the advent of technology. Most of the older generations rely on the US Post Office to receive information or perhaps a personal telephone call. The younger generations live on their cell phones and text rather than talk. They follow Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram or a myriad of other technological programs that exist. Websites can have a lot of information on them but if it stays the same and isn’t constantly upgraded, it becomes useless and is quickly dismissed.
Getting people to go to a meeting is rapidly disappearing as an option to share information. How then do we communicate with our intended targets going forward? Perhaps as you are beginning to see, it is getting complicated. Even if you can get people into a venue to have some type of conversation, there are still a lot of people, for whatever reason, which fail to acknowledge that a communication problem exists in today’s society. There are so many options for people to choose from and the only option that provides a reasonable chance that your message will be received and understood is if you send the message over every single method available in today’s society. That is realistically not possible for most volunteer organizations that don’t have a full time person that is connected with the full range of communication options. Even sending one paragraph of this text could not be done on some of the options available today because of character limitations.
So how do we improve communication? First off, we must admit that there is a lot of room for improving communication. Secondly, we must admit that the answer for one will not necessarily work for all. Lastly, it is going to take a lot of effort.
I need input from each of you on how we can reach young people. I will post this on our website as well as put it on Facebook and email it out to everyone with an email address, but that still won’t get to everyone. We must all talk to people within our sphere of influence. We must then listen to what they say and not assume that we know what they will say! Jumping to conclusions may require a lot of effort but rarely provides accurate outcomes. Let me hear from you!
Friends, Members and fellow Patriots:
The following document is a few months old but it speaks clearly to a need to find a way to connect our generation with today’s youth. Our chapter website is www.ncoarogue.org and is a good example of what our chapter is doing. Take a look at it and you will find a wide spectrum of activities that cross the full spectrum of age involvement. It donned on me that I had not shared our chapter website with most of our membership, so here it is.
Finding a way to connect, even in a small way, is important, not just for our organization, but for all. It is even important for families to improve communication. Cell phones have replaced talking and now people predominantly text instead of speak to each other. This process is placing a roadblock into simple communication. The fact that texting may be quicker, we cannot lose sight of the value of having a conversation with our families or our younger generation.
I am hopeful that you will do more than read this email and the attached document. I am hopeful that you will think about it and share your ideas with me. Let’s start a conversation!
Strength in Unity & Leadership By Example
Terry M. Haines
Chairman, Rogue Chapter #1260
2017 was a challenging yet very rewarding year. The chapter had almost 21,000 hours of community service and raised almost $13,000 that we gave to worthy community groups and projects.
Last year we lost one of our past leaders when Herb Robb passed away but we have also had a surge in new members’ thanks in part to participation in a weekly veteran’s breakfast. Success brings growth and last year we had a successful Snowflake event bringing 4 gold star families to Boatnik for 3 days of fun. We also had several members act as guardians for an Honor Flight that took 23 WW2 & Korean vets back to Washington DC to see their memorials. We initiated a program to recognize law enforcement personnel that was adopted nationally by NCOA and we held our first annual 5K VeteRUN which brought almost 100 community citizens out to run and enabled us to have the single largest fund raiser in the history of our chapter.
As we move forward as an organization, it is important that the numerous past accomplishments of the men and women who have been members of NCOA do not fall into the oblivion created by our aging population. Our grandkids need to know what has been accomplished in the past and more importantly why these things were important enough for our generation to invest the blood, sweat & tears as well as our money and time in. In order to take a step in that direction I have been reaching out to our younger generation seeking input as to what is important to them. What are they willing to do or invest their time and finances on in order to arrive at a similar level of satisfaction that prompted us to do what we did? Times have changed and we have to be willing to adapt or everything we have done will fade into oblivion when we die.
To that end, I am seeking input and utilizing my position on NCOA’s International Board of Directors to see if there are programs or causes that will resonate with today’s young troops. So far I have gotten feedback like “why doesn’t NCOA partner with Habitat for Humanity to help build housing for our poor.” “Why doesn’t NCOA take on social problems like trying to curb veteran suicide because 22+ veterans are committing suicide every single day?” “Why does NCOA require membership to attend brick and mortar meetings every month in order to stay in good standing?” These issues are just the tip of the iceberg but ones that we can no longer afford to sweep under the rug. We can evolve or we can die and I didn’t invest the last 30+ years of my life on something to just give up and fade away. How about you? Do you have ideas? Do you want to be part of the solution? Join me. I want to hear from you!