Getting the 4th generation Service and ex-Service community on board

21-Apr-2016

Written by CEO/State Secretary: Mr G Kolomeitz

In my travels around the State, I have seen many sub-Branches which are proactively engaging with 4th generation serving and ex-Service members and encouraging membership of the League. In the true spirit of change management, we cannot expect this generation of members and potential members to ‘bend’ completely to our ways – we must be prepared to adapt the way we do business to meet changing circumstances and the differing needs of this target group if the League is to remain relevant and sustainable. Such adaptation may demand that we change our meeting times and/or days to allow participation by working-age members. We must be prepared to accept, and indeed encourage, the contribution of these members to discussion and debate at meetings and be agile enough to consider their ideas – they are the next generation of sub-Branch executives. The most successful sub-Branches in terms of attracting and retaining 4th generation members are those which have catered to the availability of these members and have instituted mentoring programs to ensure succession planning for executive appointments. Importantly, and in line with our Mission funding obligations, a broad consensus exists in the 4th generation membership base that we should better fund our care and well-being services – that we should dedicate a greater proportion of our cumulative wealth to supporting and assisting our mates who have returned from operational service in the years since Vietnam as well as any from that conflict who are in necessitous circumstances – this is consistent with our core Mission. 

I am by no means advocating for a generational divide or even suggesting that such divide exists – we are “One RSL” – but we have to accept the reality that different needs and expectations exist between generations of serving and ex-Serving members. Again, I pose the question – do I want to leave the RSL in a better state for the next generations of veterans and ex-Service people and their families?