DECEMBER 2019 – JANUARY 2020
Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint from the December 2019 –January 2020 SeaBreeze.
Welcome to the revitalization of the Sea Breeze, Post 291’s newsletter. In addition to the Post 291 website at www.al291.com and frequent Constant Contact and other emails to the membership, the Sea Breeze provides a long-time traditional medium for communicating with our Post 291 members and Post 291 Family members. It’s a fundamental channel for letting everyone know “What’s going on in The American Legion and at the Post.”
Some Recent History
A lot has happened at the Post since the last publication of the Sea Breeze this past February. There was an election in May that elected nine new officers and changed the balance in the Executive Board, with the new E-Board beginning its term on Monday 1 July. The new officers were and are committed to an E-Board that will:
- Serve with honesty, integrity, highest character, transparency, and fair play.
- Comply with all:
- Federal, State, and Local laws.
- American Legion Rules, Regulations, and Policies.
- Post 291 Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules, Regulations, and Policies.
- Ensure that Robert’s Rules and Post 291 Bylaws govern conduct of all E-Board meetings.
American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC)
The American Legion Yacht Club is and always has been — and continues to be — a program of Post 291, which is clearly stated in the Post 291 Constitution, Article VIII, and in the Post 291 Bylaws, Article 5.1. And neither the Post 291 Constitution nor Post 291 Bylaws were ever amended — nor sought to be amended — to change that fact. Based on additional information received from ALYC, motions were passed at the E-Board meeting on Tuesday 2 July that fully restored ALYC to its traditional and proper role that it has so successfully performed for 52 years as a proud program of Post 291. ALYC —an organization in which membership is available to all Post 291 Family members who wish to be involved in nautical activities — has, through its operation for over half a century, brought an incredible amount of admiration and respect from the City of Newport Beach and the entire yachting and boating community to both itself and to Post 291. And, fortunately, it continues in that role today.
Governance and Administration
National American Legion
— LEGION Act. Among important national legislation passed this year for veterans was the LEGION Act — an acronym that stands for “Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National service.” Previously, eligibility for membership in The American Legion was restricted to those military veterans who had served on active duty during periods that the US Government had declared were times of war. The key result of this act is that all veterans who have served on active duty since 7 December 1941 are now eligible for membership in The American Legion. Consequently, the LEGION Act opens up the opportunity for about 4 million more veterans to be members of The American Legion.
— Auxiliary Eligibility. A change in the rules for eligibility for membership in the Auxiliary was also approved by The American Legion at its Convention this past August to bring the rules in line with tax laws. Now, membership in the American Legion Auxiliary is expanded to include all spouses of military veterans who are members of The American Legion.
—National Commander. The new National Commander of The American Legion elected at its Convention this past August is James W. “Bill” Oxford from North Carolina.
— Preamble Change. The American Legion National Executive Committee (NEC) approved at its meeting in October a change to words in the fourth stanza of the Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion. The phrase “in the Great Wars” was changed to “in all wars.”
Post 291 Executive Board Actions
The Post 291 E-Board has completed several important steps and has a number of other actions underway — including several initiatives by Post 291 Committees — to improve and strengthen the Post 291 organization and its operations.
- Constitution and Bylaws. Current Post 291 Constitution and Bylaws are ten years old; and while they have served well and continue to do so, it’s timely to review them for possible appropriate updates. Moreover, the Post is required to ensure that its Constitution and Bylaws are consistent with and do not conflict with those of the Department of California and the National American Legion. Consequently, the Post 291 Constitution and Bylaws Committee is undertaking a comprehensive review of these documents. Upon completion of their analysis, they will recommend any amendments to the E-Board and to the Post 291 membership for approval.
- Insurance Review. The Audit Committee is performing an in-depth review of the Post’s three insurance policies; and, after completion of their analysis and discussions with the insurers, will recommend any changes in coverage and premiums to the E-Board for approval and funding.
- Marina Piers. Under the lease with the City of Newport Beach, the Post is responsible for maintenance of its marina. Several of the marina piers (”dock fingers”) have been in urgent need of repair, and two of these have already been replaced. The pier replacements are relatively expensive capital outlays for the Post, so this and other marina work is being spaced out over several months.
- POS System. The Post has been using the Aloha point of sale (POS) system for several years. However, the software platform for the Post’s current version of Aloha is no longer being supported. Therefore, it is necessary to replace it, which is another capital outlay. Based on impressive technical features and management reports for the Toast POS, the E-Board has approved moving to and installing the Toast POS, which should occur in early in 2020.
- Budgets for 2020. At its meeting on Thursday 21 November, the E-Board tentatively approved the 2020 budgets recommended by the Finance Committee. The three budgets include Membership, Business, and Capital. To ensure the budgets are balanced, adjustments may be needed in prices and expense reductions. Among changes approved are modest increases in marina slip fees beginning in 2020. — But the increased slip fees are still the best deal in Newport Harbor.
- Yacht Clubs Resolution. Since the Veterans 291 Yacht Club was never an approved program of Post 291, the E-Board approved the recommendations of the Yacht Clubs Committee to enable those individuals who had joined the Veterans 291 Yacht Club to either transfer their membership to the American Legion Yacht Club or to receive a refund of dues. That process has now been completed.
- Marina Director Appointed. The new Marina Director (“Dockmaster”) is Mark Ayers, a four-year member of Post 291 who is a Navy veteran and owns a boat in the Post marina.
- Veterans Emergency Assistance Fund (VEAF). Service Officer Chase Wickersham conducted a very effective and successful fundraising campaign to support military veterans in need. The VEAF has already provided numerous military veterans with temporary shelter, gasoline for their cars, and other critical supplies. The funds raised are 100 percent dedicated and allocated to helping military veterans.
Events and Activities
Post 291 continues to have a very busy social calendar. In addition to the regular weekly activities here at the Post, formal events were held celebrating major national holidays, including those for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day. Also, the annual luncheon for World War II and Korean War Veterans was held in August, with a full-house turnout by these veterans and their families. And these events and activities would not be possible without all the enthusiastic and energetic support of Post 291 Family volunteers — along with the Post’s outstanding employees. The Fourth of July Old Glory Boat Parade and the annual Sail for the Visually Impaired, both sponsored by ALYC but supported by the entire Post 291 Family, were especially spectacular successes. The Post 291 website at www.al291.com is always a reliable source for information about scheduled events at the Post.
And in November and December are the special holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, for which the Post serves an outstanding dinner. All Post 291 Family members can come and enjoy these incredibly delicious dinners, skillfully prepared by the Post’s superbly talented kitchen staff. Importantly, uniformed Public Service Employees are always invited to these holiday dinners as guests of the Post.
Post 291 Family — and Post Employees
Complementing the members of Post 291 itself are three other organizations that are essential components of the Post 291 Family: Auxiliary Unit 291, an affiliate; and two programs, Sons of The American Legion (SAL) Squadron 291, and the American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC). All these organizations perform a huge amount of volunteer work benefitting Post 291, their respective members, and — especially — military veterans. Elsewhere in this issue of the Sea Breeze you’ll find more details on some of the enormous accomplishments of these organizations.
And it’s absolutely essential to note the special importance of our Post 291 employees and their many contributions to the successful operation of the Post. Post 291 enjoys the services of an outstanding staff, who are notably dedicated, conscientious, and skilled professionals who take great pride in their work and in ensuring Post 291 Family members feel welcome and always have a pleasant experience during their visits to the Post.
Goals and Objectives
The Post and its Officers have several key goals and objectives for this coming command year that they would like to accomplish.
- The Post has a variety of channels of communications with its members. These include the website www.al291.com, email, Constant Contact, US mail, and assorted social media. All of these can and will be used more extensively to maintain closer contact with our members and to assist our members in having greater knowledge of Post activities, events, Post management actions, and other information useful to military veterans.
- Membership Goal. The membership goal for 2020 for Post 291 — to be achieved by 30 June 2020 — is 4,096 members. Although the Post has about that many members for the 2019 membership year, there is always some attrition, particularly among older members, and always new accessions, especially with younger military veterans. And with the LEGION Act, the base of potential new members has broadened significantly. But all of us must make a determined effort to bring in new members to Post 291 — to enable them to access and enjoy the many amenities of Post 291 as well as to benefit from the many services provided by the largest military veterans organization in the world, The American Legion.
- Post 291 Family Roles and Mission. Post 291 has a membership of about 4,000 military veterans. It is the largest American Legion Post in the Department of California, and is possibly the largest Post in the world. Added to the 4,000 military veterans are another 1,800 or so members of Auxiliary Unit 291 plus about 1,700 SAL Squadron 291 members, for a total of around 7,500 members of the Post 291 Family. A principal reason for its large membership, of course, is the attraction of its location — right on the water in Newport Harbor. But the Post 291 Family’s primary mission is support to military veterans, and all the Post 291 Family organizations perform this role extremely well. And this location and venue are unparalleled in offering and providing an absolutely unique experience and services for the 7,500 military veterans and their families who are members of this Post.
- Additional Committees. New committees are being established to further support the Post 291 organization and its operations.
- Rules, Regulations, and Policies. In addition to the ongoing comprehensive review of the Post Constitution and Bylaws, the current Post Rules, Regulations, and Policies also need to be revisited for possible updates and clarifications. Volunteers are being sought for this committee. If you have interest in serving on this committee, please contact Adjutant Mike Berdine or me.
- Public Relations and Media. Another key committee that needs to be formed is Public Relations and Media. In addition to direct support of military veterans, Post 291 Family organizations conduct numerous other civic and community service events through the year; and these events deserve to be recognized throughout the community. This committee will ensure that this recognition and publicity occurs by writing press releases, working with social media, and establishing good professional working relationships with media journalists and with local government officials. Again, if you have skills in this area and are interested in serving on this committee, please contact the Adjutant or me.
- Facilities Development and Capital Campaign. Given that the main Post 291 building is over a half-century old and requires increasing maintenance, repair, and capital outlays to maintain its attractiveness and safe occupancy, an exploratory investigation and assessment must be undertaken to understand how Post 291 can provide a suitable venue for the next half-century or so. Once again, if you have skills in this area and are interested in serving on this committee, please contact the Adjutant or me.
- Marketing / Fundraising / Ways and Means. Continuing and expanding support of military veterans and their families requires concerted efforts to generate the needed resources. This committee will focus on fundraising to support military veterans in need, and will feature and draw upon presenting wider information about the demonstrated services that The American Legion provides. This committee urgently needs skilled volunteers to serve on it. If you would like to participate in this critically important activity, please contact Service Officer Chase Wickersham, the Adjutant, or me.
- Opportunities and Needed Skills. To ensure Post 291 continues to provide successful and satisfactory service and support to its military veterans members and their families, a continuing influx of new leadership with appropriate skills is required. Among the 4,000 members of Post 291, those skills are almost certainly there. What is needed, then, is for those Post 291 members with those skills to step forward and volunteer to help keep Post 291 going for future generations of military veterans. Here are the main areas of Post 291 operational activities.
- The Business side of Post 291 — the bar, the restaurant, and the marina — is about a $2 million per year operation that requires appropriate professional skills by its employees along with capable management oversight by Post Officers. The Post has about 40 employees, and most are part-time. Employees are assigned to duties in Administration, Kitchen and Food Preparation, Bar Operations, Wait Staff and Servers, and Custodial. Volunteers are needed from Post 291 members who have management skills, training, and experience in one or more of the following areas:
- Financial Management
- Project Management
- Bars and Restaurants — Management and Operation
Post 291 members with these skills who would like to volunteer can acquire further knowledge and insights by serving on one of these committees:
- House Committee
- Finance Committee
- Audit Committee
- The Membership side of Post 291 is devoted to the founding principles and primary goals of The American Legion and its Four Pillars — Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children and Youth. Volunteers are especially needed to assist with fundraising for veterans support. Also helpful are those individuals with compassion and concern for fellow military veterans who need our help and can effectively interact with them. Other volunteers needed are those who have a passion for fostering American ideals and ensuring that our American youth are presented with opportunities and information about Americanism and wholesome activities related to American traditions and values. Post 291 members with these skills and interests can get further involved by serving on one of these committees:
- Marketing / Fundraising / Ways and Means Committee
- Donations Committee
- Boys State and Oratorical Contest (Contact Jim Updike at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Post 291 — For Military Veterans and Their Families. Finally, it cannot be overemphasized that Post 291 is — and must be —a welcoming and friendly place for military veterans and their families to visit and to enjoy. It should provide a peaceful, tranquil environment, but should also be fun and rewarding. It’s an organization of military veterans and their families helping veterans and their families. As an absolutely unique venue among all American Legion Posts, it’s critically important that all of us help support and maintain Post 291 as this wonderful place.
For God and Country, here’s wishing you all and your family and friends an exceptionally pleasant Holiday Season and Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2020!
Newport Harbor Post 291 of The American Legion
August – September
With all this warm and wonderful weather, I hope you’re enjoying spending a lot of time at our Post!
Here’re some comments and updates on a few events that recently occurred:
- Yacht Clubs Committee Report — and follow-on actions.
- Luncheon for World War II and Korean War Veterans.
- National Convention of The American Legion in Indianapolis.
- Labor Day Weekend.
- Membership Goal for 2019-2020
Yacht Clubs Committee Report and Recommendations
The Yacht Clubs Committee was appointed to address issues related to the two yacht clubs, the American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC), a program of Post 291, and the Veterans 291 Yacht Club (V291YC). The Yacht Clubs Committee was chaired by ALYC Staff Commodore Frank Reinhart and was composed of members of both clubs. The Yacht Clubs Committee presented its report and recommendation to the Executive Board at its meeting on Thursday 8 August, and the Executive Board accepted and approved the Yacht Clubs Committee recommendations. And at its meeting on Monday 26 August, V291YC members approved adoption of Option A of the Yacht Clubs Committee recommendations. As a result: (1) Individuals who joined both clubs will be given a full refund of their V291YC dues; (2) V291YC members may transfer their 2019 membership to ALYC at no additional cost upon completion of a special application, and a prorated portion of the dues they paid to V291YC will be transferred to ALYC, based on the amount remaining in the V291YC bank account; (3) V291YC members who do not wish to transfer their membership to ALYC will receive a refund of a prorated portion of the dues they paid to V291YC, based on the amount remaining in the V291YC bank account. V291YC members will receive a letter from ALYC Commodore Bruce Batcheller inviting them to transfer their membership and explaining the process. The deadline for applying for transfer is Monday 30 September.
Luncheon for World War II and Korean War Veterans
We had another great turnout for the annual luncheon for World War II and Korean War veterans on Thursday 15 August, with over 250 veterans and their family members attending. Post 291 Adjutant Mike Berdine and Finance Officer Bob Wine flawlessly managed the whole event. The as-expected overflow parking was handled very efficiently by our SAL Squadron 291 member volunteers, and was carefully guided by SAL Commander Tim Sullivan. The lunch meal itself, skillfully orchestrated by Food and Beverage Manager Dennis Fitzpatrick, was outstanding – the highlight being Chef Ulises Dominguez’ legendary and incredibly delicious lasagna. And volunteers from Auxiliary Unit 291, under the expert leadership of Jan Woolford, had not only attractively decorated the tables, but also promptly served all the meals in record time. The luncheon featured outstanding entertainment by Paul Eshelman on keyboard, and Dave Alcantar and his band playing familiar big band music from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. And irresistibly (and predictably), there was a lot of dancing in the aisles by energetic and enthusiastic guests. The event was also honored by the attendance of Newport Beach City Councilman Jeff Herdman and Newport Beach City Councilman and former Mayor Kevin Muldoon, who read and presented a proclamation by Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon highlighting the occasion and honoring the veterans of World War II and Korea.
National Convention of The American Legion in Indianapolis
The annual National Convention of The American Legion was held this year in Indianapolis. Although the formal meeting, chaired by National Commander Brett Reistad, was from Tuesday 27 August through Thursday 29 August, the working sessions, preparation, and supporting commission meetings and committee meetings occurred on Saturday and Sunday, 24 and 25 August. There were also a number of training seminars going on concurrently throughout the week. Also, the National Convention of the American Legion Auxiliary and the National Convention of the Sons of The American Legion (SAL) were held simultaneously at the Indiana Convention Center.
Post 291 Honor Guard Commander Brian Fleming, Jr. accepts the First Place
trophy in the Advancing the Colors competition from
National Commander Brett Reistad.
Competition at the 101st American Legion National Convention
Friday, August 23, 2019 In Indianapolis.
Photo by Ryan Young/The American Legion
Ten members of Post 291 attended the Convention and participated in various events:
Post 291 Honor Guard Team Post 291 Officers
Brian Fleming, Jr., Honor Guard Commander Jon Reynolds, Commander
Dennis DeRosia Bob Brennan, First Vice Commander
Mike Mailman Mike Berdine, Adjutant
Kevin Van Otterloo
The formal part of the Convention on Tuesday 27 August through Thursday 29 August featured some very impressive speakers that included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary for Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Former Indiana Governor and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, and Theodore Roosevelt IV. All of their presentations were exceptionally informative and inspirational, and they can be viewed online at The American Legion website — www.legion.org.
Successful legislation sponsored and supported by The American Legion during the past year was also heavily emphasized, specifically the Blue Water Navy Act that allows US Naval personnel who served in or near Vietnam to apply for VA benefits related to Agent Orange, and the Legion Act, which makes all veterans who have served on active duty since 7 December 1941 eligible for membership in The American Legion. So now, all Posts will have a much enlarged population of military veterans to recruit for membership.
Wrapping up the National Convention was the election of new National Officers. It was an interesting process that was reminiscent of national political conventions — especially when the nominations are uncontested. Newly elected officers for 2019-2020 for The American Legion are:
National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford — from North Carolina
National Vice Commander Francis J. MacDonald, Jr. — from Massachusetts
National Vice Commander David L. King — from Kentucky
National Vice Commander Bruce C. Feuerbach — from Iowa
National Vice Commander Richard A. Heigert — from Missouri
National Vice Commander Robert D. Liebenow — from Oregon
In addition, the other two National Conventions elected new officers as well:
National President of the Auxiliary Nicole Clapp — from Iowa
National Commander of the SAL Clint D. Bolt — from Virginia
Next year the National Convention of The American Legion will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.
— And much more about the National Convention and the new officers can be found on The American Legion website.
Labor Day Weekend
The Post experienced another terrific Labor Day Weekend with hundreds of our members and their families coming to the Post and enjoying its many amenities. On the West Patio, the Post kitchen and restaurant featured its superb “Extended Burn Your Own” menu — that would perhaps be better described as “Barbecue Buffet.” And the Bar introduced its new and very attractive 12-ounce wine glasses (replacing the previous 7-ounce glasses), which enable virtually spill-free transport of the standard 6-ounce wine pour.
For all of you made it to the Post during Labor Day Weekend, glad you did! — That’s the way it should be! It’s your Post, and you should make good use of it!
Membership Goal for 2019-2020
Department Adjutant Paul Brown informed me that the membership goal for Post 291 for 2019-2020 is the number of members reported to Department as of 30 June 2019 — plus one. Therefore, our membership goal for Post 291 for 2019-2020 is 4,096. Each year there is always some attrition, but also extensive accessions. This goal is challenging, but very achievable. — We all just need to get out there and recruit!
Welcome to the Post 291 membership and command year for 2019-2020! We have a new Executive Board and we’re looking forward to a great, successful year of Post 291 fulfilling its Number 1 Mission: Serving our fellow military veterans and their families.
At the outset, I want to emphasize that this Executive Board is committed to and will:
- Serve with honesty, integrity, highest character, transparency, and fair play.
- Obey and comply with all laws and regulations:
- Obey all Federal, State, and Local laws;
- Comply with all American Legion Rules, Regulations, and Policies; and
- Comply with all Post 291 Constitution, Bylaws, Rules, Regulations, and Policies.
In addition, Robert’s Rules and Post 291 Bylaws govern the conduct of all Post 291 meetings.
And since we need everyone’s support in accomplishing our mission for military veterans, it’s very important for all of us to have an understanding of how Post 291 is organized and operates.
Executive Board — 2019 – 2020
The Post 291 Executive Board for the 2019–2020 command year includes nine newly elected members, six members continuing on from the previous command year, and three appointed officers.
Members of the four Standing Committees prescribed by the Post 291 Bylaws have also been appointed and approved by the Executive Board at its meeting on Tuesday 2 July.
- 1. The Finance Committee, with seven members, is chaired by Finance Officer Bob Wine.
- 2. The House Committee, with eight members, is chaired by Adjutant Mike Berdine.
- 3. The Judicial Committee, with six members, is chaired by Judge Advocate Burt McChesney.
- 4. And the SAL Committee, with four members, is chaired by First Vice Commander Bob Brennan.
Three other committees have also been appointed.
- 1. The Donations Committee, with seven Post 291 members and four “associate” members from the other Post 291 Family organizations, is chaired by Service Officer Chase Wickersham. With the leadership of Chase Wickersham, this committee is initiating an innovative approach of coordinating the fundraising and donation activities of all the Post 291 Family organizations.
- 2. The Audit Committee, with three members, is chaired by Sverre Thomassen. This committee is essential to establishing and ensuring effective financial controls at the Post for proper fiduciary stewardship.
- 3. The Yacht Clubs Committee, with seven members, is chaired by Frank Reinhart. The primary objective of this temporary committee is to arrive at recommendation to the Executive Board for the satisfactory resolution of the arrangements with the Veterans 291 Yacht Club and the American Legion Yacht Club.
— Membership of all these committees will be published on the Post website.
Post 291 Family
The Post 291 Family plays a vital role in the success of Post 291 in serving our military veterans and their families. All these organizations — Auxiliary Unit 291, SAL Squadron 291, and the American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC) — have been and continue to be very effective in fundraising, donations, and community service. — And they’re fun and exciting organizations for their members to be a part of as well.
In addition, Post 291 is extremely fortunate to have a current staff of exceptionally capable, conscientious, and dedicated employees. There are about 40 Post employees, and most are part-time and hourly. There are only 12 full-time employees, and of those only three are salaried. But they all make the whole place work in serving all our Post 291 Family members and their guests at the Post.
American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC)
Contrary to any information or impressions that may have been conveyed over the past couple of years, ALYC is — and always has been since its inception — a Program of Post 291. Article VIII of the Post 291 Constitution and Article 5.1. of the Post 291 Bylaws make that very clear — and neither the Post 291 Constitution nor the Post 291 Bylaws has ever been amended to change that. At the Executive Board meeting on Tuesday 2 July 2019, the so-called “termination” of ALYC by the Executive Board at its meeting on Thursday 6 December 2018 was determined to be — under Post 291 Constitution and Bylaws, California State Law for Mutual Benefit Nonprofit Corporations, and Robert’s Rules — null and void, and was vacated. In addition, the Executive Board received correspondence from the American Legion Yacht Club on Tuesday 2 July 2019 thoroughly documenting full compliance by ALYC with the “Five Rules” from National American Legion. As a result, the Executive Board revoked and removed the suspension of ALYC that had been approved by the Executive Board at its meeting on Thursday 6 September 2018.
A letter was sent to National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler on Tuesday 9 July 2019 confirming that ALYC is in full compliance with the Five Rules and continues to be — as it has been since its founding in 1966 — a Program of Post 291.
And ALYC is authorized to immediately resume activities on Post 291 property with full access to and use of American Legion Yacht Club assets, resources, and property; and ALYC may immediately and fully restore reciprocity with other yacht clubs.
Because of the controversy about ALYC at Post 291 over the past year or so, it’s important to present a one-time expanded discussion of the organization.
Some History of Post 291 and ALYC — and Context
The American Legion Yacht Club was formed by military veterans — members of Post 291 — in 1966, and was incorporated in 1967 as a California Mutual Benefit Nonprofit Corporation. Therefore, ALYC has been in existence for over half the lifetime of Post 291 itself, which was established in 1924.
The specific purposes of ALYC, as stated in the second article of its Articles of Incorporation, “are to bring together those persons who are interested in boating and yachting in order to further and promote the sport and sportsman-like conduct of those interested in the sport.” And the ALYC Bylaws, Article III, further state that: “The purpose of this Club shall be to encourage yacht racing and cruising, to promote the science of seamanship and navigation, and with the parent American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291 to provide a suitable clubhouse and marina for the education, recreational, and social use of its members and families.”
Further, ALYC is governed by Post 291 members — military veterans — since, under ALYC Bylaws, only members of Post 291 may serve as Officers and Directors of ALYC. In addition, as stated in Post 291 Bylaws, Article 5.2., “The American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC) is self-governing with their own Bylaws.”
Not surprisingly, given the unique venue of Post 291 right on the water in Newport Beach, the histories of Post 291 and ALYC since 1966 have been integrally entwined — with a result being that Post 291 has been closely involved in the boating community. Although Post 291, as an entity, operates and manages the marina and leasehold property, ALYC is the “nautical adjunct” to the Post for providing and conducting on-the-water related activities and events. In an “arms length” business arrangement, ALYC pays rent to the Post for use of the Hut, for slip fees for its two sailboats, and for dry storage of its trailerable utility boat. In turn, the Post enables yacht club reciprocity by allowing visiting members of other yacht clubs to sign in as guests and use Post amenities — primarily, the bar, restaurant, and Guest Dock.
ALYC has brought a great amount of favorable community admiration, respect, and credit for the Post as well as for itself through its many community service activities. The annual Sail for the Visually Impaired is an immensely popular humanitarian event for blind and partially sighted individuals who look forward each year to be able to spend a few hours on the water and sailing. The Fourth of July Old Glory Boat Parade is another long tradition of ALYC that emphasizes patriotism and celebration of our Nation’s Independence Day — and underscores the American Legion Pillar of Americanism. And ALYC is noted for its sponsorship of numerous highly regarded sailboat races and other boating activities that invite and encourage participation of other yachting and boating organizations in Newport Harbor, Orange County, and throughout Southern California. As a result of its extensive and highly successful involvement in boating activities, ALYC has won the coveted and prestigious “Club of the Year” award nine times from the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA).
Moreover, ALYC offers major ways for the Post to appeal to younger military veterans. ALYC provides youth sailing courses each summer for children eight to eighteen, with a certified US Sailing Association instructor and a fleet of the latest technology in beginner sailboats. Further, ALYC has an exceptionally popular and active Dive and Snorkel group; cruising and racing programs; and two sailboats that members may check out and sail on Newport Harbor. It also has opportunities for members to participate as Race Committee members in running sailboat races. And soon, it may provide model yachting (model sailboats), which has great appeal to younger Post members and their children. — In summary, ALYC is a major player and influence in attracting new members to Post 291.
Fourth of July
Post 291 enjoyed a fabulous Fourth of July this year! The SAL Squadron again sponsored an exceptionally successful Pancake Breakfast open to the public. The Auxiliary Unit again graciously hosted 250 Make-A-Wish children and their families in the Main Hall, including providing them with a delicious pancake breakfast and entertainment with face painting and balloon art. ALYC sponsored the annual Old Glory Boat Parade, featuring dozens of patriotically decorated boats proceeding around Newport Harbor — with several boats carrying active duty military members and the lead VIP boat with the Grand Marshal, Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon. And our outstanding kitchen staff provided a superb lunch on the West Patio. — In all, the Fourth of July was another grand celebration of Independence Day at Post 291!
Our Post 291 Honor Guard continued to excel and to bring special recognition for themselves — and to Post 291 — with its First Place win in the Honor Guard competition at the Department of California Convention in Ontario, CA, last month. And next month, they will again be competing at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis. — Congratulations to them, and best of luck in the next competition!
Coming up next month is an especially important annual event, the World War II and Korean War Veterans Luncheon, to be held at the Post on Thursday 15 August. The usual full-capacity turnout is expected again this year, and Veterans Park will be reserved for additional parking. All WW II and Korean War veterans are invited and encouraged to attend this nostalgic and entertaining event that provides an opportunity for veterans of that era to share memories and some time with each other.
Also next month is the annual American Legion National Convention, to be held in Indianapolis from Thursday 22 August to Thursday 29 August. The Post 291 Honor Guard and other Post 291 officers will attend the Convention.
Throughout the coming year, there are numerous social events and activities going on at the Post. In addition, there are weekly events and entertainment at the Post that members are encouraged to enjoy. As former Post Commander Randy Eling used to like to say, “this is our foxhole.” This Post is a special and unique place for military veterans and their families. — Please come and enjoy it with your family and friends!