19 March 2024

RSL sub-branch in fast-growing Illawarra suburb in need of new members to continue legacy

| Keeli Royle
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Dapto - Port Kembla RSL Sub branch members at march.

The sub-branch is in desperate need of new members to keep hosting important ceremonies in the Dapto and Port Kembla areas. Photo: Dapto-Port Kembla RSL Sub-branch.

The Dapto-Port Kembla RSL Sub-branch is searching for new and young members to help preserve the legacy of veterans for the next generation and ensure important ceremonies and events continue in the local area.

The catchment area of the group is one of tremendous growth but trustee, vice-president and social officer Chad Laughlin-Young said they were still struggling to recruit members, with the current cohort consisting of a limited number of people available to take on important responsibilities.

“Our sub-branch demographic is quite elderly and the younger members we have are obviously busy with family and work and things like that so we want to have a broader spectrum of younger members through all ages who can share the workload a bit and carry on the traditions and be a voice for veterans,” he said.

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The sub-branch has many roles which would benefit from further contribution, from positions such as president, secretary and treasurer to social, wellbeing and publicity officers.

But they want to encourage anyone who has served to get involved, even if they can’t commit to things much at the current time.

“One of the issues I had when I joined is that I didn’t think it was for me because I was too young or I hadn’t done enough service or I was too busy,” Mr Laughlin-Young said. “But anybody who has done service and worn a uniform can basically join and it would be really appreciated.”

Dapto-Port Kembla RSL Sub-branch members at Dawn Service

Younger members are needed to take on active roles.

And it can be mutually beneficial for members as well who get the opportunity to meet and be around other servicepeople and families of people who have service.

“For me it would be the mateship, the camaraderie, the social aspects of it,” Mr Laughlin-Young said.

“It’s being a part of ceremonies and traditions; it’s kind of still having that foot in that military world now that you’re out in the civilian world.”

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But without increased membership, Mr Laughlin-Young is concerned the same opportunities may not be available in the future.

“If people don’t start joining I think we’re going to see sub-branches close down and that’s not something that I want to see,” he said.

“It’s really important that these ceremonies in town keep getting held and that’s something that the sub-branches take on board, so if we lose the sub-branches for one thing we might not have those ceremonies.”

To become a member visit the RSL NSW website and search for Dapto or 2530 in the ‘Join online now’ section.

For more information email [email protected] or visit the Dapto-Port Kembla RSL sub-branch Facebook page.

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