Legion struggles to close the gap

The American Legion Post 50 has recently become the dinner host of the Castleton Lion’s Club meetings, taking place the first and third Mondays of each month.

Although there is a sufficient amount of Legion members for preparing the dinner, there is a high need for volunteer servers. The Legion is seeking engagement from the younger community for this job.

It’s certain that both the Lion’s Club and Castleton Legion contribute immensely to the community. The Lion’s Club hosts its share of community events, from fishing derbies to auctions.

All of this and more is discussed at the meetings, alongside a regular raffle for the high school scholarship fund that takes place at each meeting.

The Legion follows similar protocol, serving the community with its bingo, dances, meals and involvement especially with the elementary, middle and high schools.

Despite the organizations’ action for community engagement between old and young, it seems clear that there’s no real connection with the groups and college community at Castleton University.

When asked about the disconnect between the two major populations in the community, senior member of the Lion’s Club and Legion, Dan Calvin, had no clear answer to explain why this was.

 “I’m trying to make sense of it. But I don’t have answers why neither party is involved with each other,” he said.

The Legion has been able to arrange some short-term solutions to their lack of help. They currently have recruited some paid high school students to help at the dinners.

They said they’ve tried to reach out to the college and past scholarship winners for help, but neither have responded. Though the Legion was unaware of its existence, the Castleton Rotaract Club shares similar values to the organization.

Daniel Warnecke, the president of Rotaract Club, commented his thoughts on the matter.

“I feel the only difference between Rotaract, Lion’s Club and the Legion are the names. They have their traditions and we have ours, but we all have the same purpose of wanting to make a positive change in the community,” he said.

Warnecke was unaware of the situation of feeling a disconnect in the community himself until an email from community engagement coordinator Chrispin White called for help. Warnecke states plans are underway to be in contact with the Legion.

He believes with many seniors graduating next year, this would be an ideal step for the club’s future.

“The more connections that we can make this year before the club kind of declines in numbers, the better,” Warnecke said.

There is much anticipation from both sides that this start of involvement can further promote interaction of all ages within the town.

“Sad but truthful to say, a lot of the Castleton community members just think we’re a bunch of hoodlums and want us to get off their lawn,” said Warnecke. “I think that the best way to cut that out is to get involved and help them understand there are kids that want to help and be involved in their lives. In the end we are one community.”

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