By resolution, The American Legion established the American Legion College program.
The resolution also encourages each department to establish its own Legion College program.
With this in mind for the Department of California, Chuck Camarato of the San Diego 22nd District began looking for a post that could accommodate such a program. After touring many of San Diego's American Legion posts, he stumbled upon Post 731. The post met all the criteria he was looking for. A large enough meeting hall to accommodate classes, full lounge capabilities to enhance socializing, full kitchen services, separate entertainment space and financial abilities. However, he found one problem: the post needed a massive makeover and was on the verge of collapse. The post lost more than two-thirds of its membership in 20 years, from over 600 to just over 200.
So Camarato facilitated his transfer and within six months was the new post commander, replacing a junior past commander of 12 years. Chuck, realizing his limited resources, began to recruit outside talent. Assembling a team, that supported his vision, and creating a firm long term goal of post revitalization, the process began.
On Aug. 17, the first of a series of Leadership Training modules was presented to the posts of the San Diego 22nd District. Module 1 focused on new officer positions and duties, hoping to start the new Legion year off right for incoming officers.
The training module incorporated PowerPoint presentations, multimedia displays and actual simulated ceremonial ritual presentations. Opening and closing ceremonies were performed with the same traditions and customs the Legion was founded on, but enhanced by using multimedia platforms to provide audio and visual technologies.
Camarato states that it is not just enough to provide outlines of procedures, but to physically walk through the various rituals to clearly demonstrate how ceremonies are performed.
This is the start of the second year that the 22nd District has implemented its training program. Building on previous knowledge and enhancing the training experience as lessons are learned. Camarato and 22nd District Commander Tony Stewart hopes, that eventually, their efforts will payoff and create the training model that is instituted throughout California.
To watch a video on the initiation ritual, go to the 22nd Districts Facebook page. www.facebook.com/Legion22SD