I am the proud son of a veteran and this is simply my own opinion.
In The Daily Advertiser on April 23 I read an article titled "Appeal to young veterans".
David Gardiner, president of the Wagga RSL Sub-Branch, stated the need to have younger veterans join the RSL Sub-Branch as the current members were ageing and needed help.
He also stated that the drop in the group's popularity coincided in the growth of smaller grassroots organisations like the Defence Shed.
Firstly, I did not know that the welfare and care for veterans of all ages was a popularity contest.
The Defence Shed is all about the care and welfare of veterans, not in opposition with the RSL Sub-Branch. They just offer different things for veterans to do.
There is a need that is being brought to life for veterans so the RSL members like Mr Gardiner should embrace the shed with open arms and support a great place for veterans as an extension of what the RSL Sub-Branch offers.
The Defence Shed is a meeting place for veterans to be able to mix and chat with people that have similar issues and ideals as their own. Due to their service to our country many have medical and physical injuries and some struggle with the transition to civilian life.
The Defence Shed is there in a non-judgemental, compassionate way for our veterans serving and retired for whatever help they need and that the shed can provide. Somewhere where they can learn new skills, hobbies or anything that they would like to try.
Many and varied skills and assistance is available, such as woodworking, metalwork, computer skills, 3D printing, laser printing and beekeeping just to name a few.
They bring their ideas to life in a relaxed, friendly environment or learn new skills that lift the self-esteem and confidence.
I thought that the RSL Sub-Branch was about veterans and their families to care about their wellbeing and assist veterans however they were able to.
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Perhaps they should welcome the establishment of organisations like the Defence Shed for veterans of all ages and genders.
Maybe then the younger veterans would also embrace the RSL Sub-Branch by joining, knowing that they were welcome and more importantly their ideas were also welcome.
If they want younger veterans to join the RSL Sub-Branch then maybe having young veterans in committee positions and making decisions for all whilst the older members are there to assist and guide the younger ones.
The older members can now relax and enjoy being members without the stresses of having to organise things, knowing that the Sub-Branch's future is in good hands with the younger ones leading the way.
Michael White hit the nail on the head and is totally right in stating that there is a disconnection between the different generations.
The older veterans have their own thoughts in the way things should be done and the younger ones are the same.
It doesn't mean that they are wrong, so please listen to all members and previous members - you never know, it might just get members back if they are listened to.
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