Running the VOD/PP/TA programs requires a lot of paper work and attention to detail! I have compiled relevant information and sample documents that should guide a new chairman in his endeavors. I took over from Bill Wickmann who had run these programs flawlessly for years - and to the rest of us, it looked easy. Then he became incapacitated and I took over the programs - and unfortunately, did not have the benefit of his guidance. I wish to spare the next chairman that learning curve!
Start with the MUST READ section. Become acquainted with the needed forms and filing dates - but they do change each year. Currently we have only one school that participates, and therefore have requested that the teachers at the school do the evaluations. Should other schools be included in these programs, then the Post MUST first enlist interested "professional" personnel to evaluate and grade the entries as per the VFW VOD/PP manual. Do not attempt to sign up more schools unless you have enlisted the services of several judges and the post is willing to put in the time and effort required. I cannot over emphasize that this program does require time and effort - even more so if you plan to do the evaluations of submissions from multiple schools!!!
The Smart/Maher Teachers Award entries are evaluated by the Post Chairman and his committee.
In addition to the time required and attention to details by the chairman to effectively manage these programs, involvement by the Post in a timely manner is needed. Establishing a Budget and gift package selection at the beginning of the budget year are needed. Lot purchases can reduce costs and provide more desirable gifts. Again, this must be discussed and planned in a timely manner and NOT LEFT TO THE LAST MINUTE!!!
Gifts that are personalized I believe would be better appreciated and attract more participation. Therefore, the Post should consider establishing a budget for multiple years to allow purchases of items that are inexpensive if purchased in lots. School plaques - for instance - like in this year's budget (2018-19) - will not have to be done again for several years. Lot purchases of USB sticks, or personalized pens, etc. Gifts that are useful where costs can be reduced with lot purchasing. Four color personalized BIC pens are as little as $1.37 each in lots of 75 (round up to $1.50 each to include shipping). The logo can be as we desire. A Ball Point from the VFW store with VOD or PP is $1.75 each plus shipping. Students like the four color pens! Teachers have suggested poster style magnets with the VOD or PP logo, Post 9957, or American flag (popular request). If less work is desired, then allocate all the funds to cash awards and certificates.
Note on funding: Department will be discussing whether department will start subsidizing posts actually running these programs. It has been suggested that up to $500 stipend would be available to posts running all three programs - and perhaps lesser amounts for one or two programs. Please stay in touch with the Department Chairman if these changes occur. And be aware that it may be discussed in the next department meeting where our representative should provide a voice!!!!! Myself and Peter Callaghan are spearheading this change. I've gone as far as I can with it, Peter will be trying to push this through Department.
The Post has a good idea what it can afford to spend on these programs without depleting the coffers over time. Make this a "reserve" amount on the books. Some years the budget may not be completely used, the remainder would carry over to subsequent year(s). This would also allow for lot purchases occasionally.
If you would like to have a copy of this on Disk, please let me know where to send.
New set back and have a cuppa-
and enjoy a little Xmas tune