Forget the picture of old military men sitting around Legions across the country, drinking beer and reminiscing about the war.
Today’s Royal Canadian Legion branches are fast becoming the gathering place for social activities. They are alive with new members of all ages, including children.
Langford’s Prince Edward Branch 91 is one of the busiest and liveliest Legions in the region, a fact due, in part, to the communication and sociability between members and guests.
“As we call it, we’re the friendliest,” said branch president, Norm Scott.
Legions have their purpose. They began in the 1920s as a place where veterans could go to unwind and perhaps find help in dealing with red tape and paperwork. They’re still that, but they are a whole lot more. The Legion still helps when military personnel are outsourcing and they offer an atmosphere of respect for veterans and currently serving military.
“With the Legion today, anyone anywhere can join and they don’t have to be members of the military. It’s much more open to receive the general public,” said Scott. “We don’t have the retention with the members of the military as we used to have.”
Added vice-president Terri Orser: “This Legion has a lot to offer because of the food bank (located underneath the building at 761 Station Rd.), the Poppy Campaign and the large auditorium. It’s booked a lot. We’re proactive rather than reactive,” she said.
Branch 91 has more than 1,400 members who participate by volunteering, and engaging in activities such as shuffleboard and pool.
They also have dart leagues and carpet bowling, NASCAR races playing in the lounge, fabulous meat draws and steak nights. “If you walk in the door, you will be met with open arms,” said Scott.
The Legion is a members’ club and it is licensed to have children on the premises until 10 p.m. From September to June, sports leagues help keep the club busy.
If membership in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 interests you, there are three categories; Ordinary for military personnel, Associate for military families, and Affiliate for the public.
The cost per year is $55. For more information on activities or to join, go online to rcl91.ca or stop by the branch at 761 Station Rd.