Running the VOD/PP/TA programs requires attention to details and a bit of paper work!   I have attempted to compile relevant information 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!   

This isn't as organized as I would like it to be, it was cobbled together as I learned, so bear with me.  It isn't a step-by-step instructional manual!  If you are interested in just the basics - here is the time line -

August-September.   National announces topics for VOD/PP and posts topics and entry forms on web site.   Smart-Meyer Teachers Award entry form posted on web site.

 October 31.  Cutoff date for filing entry with Post vod/pp/ta

 Mid November date to be determined by department chairman, District judging completed.  Where that info is posted varies according to department chairman and perhaps the weather over Minneapolis .

 November date to be determined by department chairman, entries and forms filed with department.  Method of filing to be determined and announced someplace that you have to find.

 January department announces winners of vod/pp/ta for department on a media of their choosing.  May or may not be posted online, may or may not be announced on facebook.  Relative positions of entries may or may not be announced prodding department chairman may be needed.

 February.  National  announces winners and posts on web site with entries in order.  Well organized.

 March-April.  Gift selection process begins for upcoming year.

 April.   Chairman prepares/collects all materials for award ceremonies vod/pp/ta.   Corrects  any screw ups.

 Mid May.  Jr. High has awards ceremony.  Usually in the Chappel.

 June.   High school has awards ceremony.

 May-June.  Teachers award ceremony.

 June-December.  Chairman orders gifts, certificates, holders, etc. as needed.   Prints or duplicates certificates with winners name, school, and year.   Requests cash for awards for upcoming ceremonies..


  Start with the MUST READ section.   I have sample forms with their  filing dates - but they do change each year.   Currently we have only one school that participates.  Previously Post 727  requested that the teachers at the school do the evaluations.   Should Post 9957 wish to expand and include other schools in these programs, then the Post Chairman MUST first enlist interested "professional" personnel to evaluate and grade the entries in a timely fashion - reference VFW VOD/PP  manual on how this is done.    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 effort required.   I cannot over emphasize that these programs require efforts in a timely manner - and effort significantly increases if the number of schools are expanded!! 

The Smart/Maher Teachers Award entries are evaluated by the Post VOD/PP/TA Chairman and his committee.   The Chairman may select his committee from the Post or community.

Each year, National announces the Topics to be used in the VOD and PP programs.   They are published on the VFW.ORG site.    Department Chairman notifies Post Chairman - or posts -  the topics and specific filing requirements.  It is up to the post  Chairman to check department posts on a regular basis.  So check the  Department Web/Committee Reports,  Typhoon,  and Department FaceBook page.   Filing requirements may change after initial announcement and again will be posted based on the whims of the Department Chairman!!  So.. Be Advised!   Information on the three programs on the VFW.ORG site does not remain there long!   Download if you need it for reference - it may not be there the next time you check!


Establishing a Budget, and  gift package at the beginning of the budget year will be your first actions needed.    The chairman should do his homework prior budget time in order to make early recommendations for the gift package.    Lot purchases can reduce costs and provide more desirable gifts.   

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 cheaper than the pens from VFW Store.   The logo can be as we desire.    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).   I have provided some info on possible lot purchases.   Do some  research.    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 that  actually run 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!!!!!    Peter Callaghan and myself spearheaded this suggested change.  I've gone as far as I can with it, Peter will be trying to gain support of this at Department.

The Post QM should know what the Post can afford to spend on these programs - and the other yearly expenses without depleting the coffers over time.   Make 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.   Also it would keep a record of possible donations and stipends - if they occur. 


 New set back and have a cuppa-   


and enjoy a little Xmas tune




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