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West Shore legion seeks volunteers for colour parties

Lack of volunteers limiting branch’s ability to parade
Colour party members stand in front of the cenotaph during the 2021 Remembrance Day ceremony in Langford. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 is in need of volunteers to form colour parties for other ceremonies throughout the year. (Black Press Media file photo)

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 on the West Shore is in desperate need of volunteers to serve on the branch’s colour party.

President Norm Scott said as it stands, the branch is not able to host a marching colour party for anything other than Remembrance Day ceremonies where they often get the assistance of a local cadet organization. Due to a lack of volunteers, the best they are able to offer are stationary flags.

“(Colour parties) show the depth of what the legion has done over the years through the flags we carry,” said Scott. “It’s a representation of our past, Canada, B.C., and the legion.”

READ MORE: ‘A new vision’: Langford legion looks to the future with upcoming renovations

Scott said the challenges attracting colour party volunteers is not a new one and has been a concern at the branch for at least five years. He said it also remains an issue at most other legion branches across the country as well.

Recent efforts to attract more volunteers have been stalled by the pandemic over the past two years.

”I think it is a lack of understanding of what the position entails, the lack of understanding of why we do it, or people just don’t feel they have the time to volunteer,” Scott said of recruitment difficulties.

Colour parties are groups of marching volunteers in parades, each holding a different flag symbolic of the legion’s mission and history, including the Canadian flag, the flag of the branch’s respective province, the Red Ensign, Union Jack, United Nations flag, NATO flag and the legion banner. Such parades are typically held by legion branches at the open and close of branch meetings, memorial days such as Remembrance Day and important community events.

Scott said anyone interested in volunteering their time to participate in a colour party is welcome to reach out to the branch for more information. He said legion membership or prior armed forces service is not required to volunteer, just a willingness to learn basic protocol around handling flags and marching. Perfection is not expected, and the legion is more than happy to help volunteers learn the ropes.

”The time commitment is very minimal. Just reach out to us and come and see us and talk to us about what it’s all about. We appreciate any support we can get with this.”

READ MORE: Crystal View student lands Langford’s highest-ever finish in B.C. Legion contest


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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