In a time where Legions across the country are struggling, Maple Creek’s Legion Hall enjoyed a strong and successful 2017, which they hope to build from.
It was by no means the work of one person or a few individuals that contributed to the growth, but a collective effort of a dedicated group coming together to see the branch thrive.
It began back in the fall of 2016 when the executive board members of the Maple Creek Legion gathered together to brainstorm ideas in an effort to keep the hall alive as it was becoming a challenge to meet all the required bills. That’s when the idea of Chase The Ace was floated around and eventually would become instrumental to the recent success.
When Chase The Ace began in February of 2017, it was held in the Normandy Room. But the numbers kept growing as the word got out and eventually by mid-July it would be hard to find a seat as the numbers pouring in reached the hundreds.
“In the beginning not many people knew what Chase The Ace was or how to even play for that matter,” secretery June Madson said.
“We had heard of its success in the Maritimes and the idea started to spread over here.”
Chase The Ace then led a domino effect, which in turn brought more community members out to the Legion.
“We’ve had good membership support and great community support at the same time,” treasurer Allen Madson said. “We saw an increase in bingo, a slight increase in hall rentals, and we gained an additional six members.”
But Chase The Ace transcended from what would be a night to see who would win a jackpot lottery to a time to socialize and catch up with friends. It brought the community together and brought a reminder to many of what role the hall can play in the community. Not to mention the Legion Hall keeps 50 per cent of the lottery proceeds for hall improvements and donations.
“We absolutely want to give back to the community and right now it’s a matter of getting together and figuring out where we want to allocate our available funds,” Allen said. “We have plans of fixing the washroom and making them more accessible — work on that will probably begin in the summer when things quiet down a little around here.”
The Legion also plans on making the front entrance more accessible to those in wheelchairs, incorporating an automatic door opener, but as well new doors will be important for the cold winter days.
The hall is now also the place for youth darts. Youth darts has had a steady attendance in the past few months, and though 2017 was a strong year for the Legion-there is still more work to be done.
“We need to continue to think of new strong ideas for fundraising but also we need to figure out ways to support veterans and their families. Along with connecting with other veterans in the community,” June said.
Legion membership is open to any Canadian citizen or citizen of an Allied nation who is 18 years of age or older. As part of the registration and initiation process, applicants must agree to the Legion Membership Declaration.
The Royal Canadian Legion’s mission is to serve Veterans, which includes serving military and RCMP members and their families, to promote remembrance and to serve communities and the Country.
Royal Canadian Legion, Maple Creek Branch No. 75 executive, installed December 2017. From left: Past president Walter Arnold, zone commander Raeburn Jahnke, VP Daniel Ryerson, president Terry Multon, second VP and Sgt. at Arms Lester Nickel, secretary June Madson, treasurer Allen Madson, chaplain Cpt. Ed Dean.