The goals and aspirations of the Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association (AGCRA) can best be served by Chapters in the field, which are organized and activated to build a network of motivated and interested members in their local areas. The fraternal bond formed by shared experiences and solved problems can be found at the Chapter level, where the commonalities of environment, mission, locality and structure create a positive atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.
Ultimately, the true strength of the Association will be determined by active Chapters and their programs, not by the Association’s central headquarters. Chapters will guide the Association to maturity through increased membership, support for and education of AG / HR Soldiers and Department of the Army (DA) Civilian (DAC) employees, and development of activities and programs designed to meet the needs and desires of members to be served locally.
It is critical to first understand that AGCRA and its associated Chapters are “not” official Army entities. AGCRA and its Chapters are U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approved military non-profit organizations that must consistently check with and comply with local installation guidance and policy on operations and activities on military installations or within the Department of Defense (DoD) environment. Chapter Guidelines are rules approved by the Association’s National Executive Council (NEC), but these rules must also be validated with local installation authorities.
COMMON PITFALLS IN CHAPTER ORGANIZATION
Applications from new members cannot be allowed to languish in an administrative backlog at the Chapter’s location.
Chapter Addendums or Chapter Constitution and Bylaws:
Constitution and Bylaws Addendums, or separate Chapter Constitution and Bylaws, are the official and legally binding rules by which Chapters operate. They should not be too detailed or restrictive. Chapters must also check with and comply with local installation guidance and policy on operations and activities as a non-profit organization.
Changes of Address:
An organization that moves its people as much as the Army presents a constant challenge for its affiliates to live with. Nothing is more distracting for the Association than members moving and failing to update their membership mailing address. The urban legend that persists with AGCRA members is that the Association automatically keeps up with PCS moves and changes of addresses because we’re affiliated with the Army; as a non-profit organization this is “not” true. Chapters can help to avoid this problem by emphasizing changes of address to members and updating their Chapter affiliation at the Association’s website within the Member’s Section.
True growth and progress within the Association occurs through increased membership. Chapters must assume an active role in recruiting new members. It is not a job that the Association National Executive Council can do from afar.
Poor record keeping is the quickest way to find trouble. Financial matters must be fully documented and properly recorded in perpetuity and must comply with local installation guidance and policy.
Reputations are earned, not given. Leaders must be very careful to avoid the stigma that the Chapter is an ‘officers’ organization. Share leader jobs and other responsibilities among all segments of the membership, including Retirees.
Sharing the Workload:
The tendency to let or ask one or two members in each Chapter to do all the work must be overcome. Share the wealth, the glory and the burden.
The Association and its Chapters are nonprofit organizations. The AG Corps itself is the official government entity. The Association and Chapters are privately funded as non-profit organizations. The Corps is funded with appropriated monies from Department of Defense. Work done on behalf of the Association or its Chapters must be voluntary, and a Chapter insurance policy protects members from liability. Work done for the Corps is protected from liability by the federal government.
The Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association (AGCRA), also known as the Association, truly appreciates the enthusiasm when members desire to activate an AGCRA Chapter. If you have a handful of AG Soldiers, Army Civilian HR Professionals, or volunteers as dedicated as you, then activating or re-establishing an AGCRA Chapter is more than doable.
Things to remember:
- If you plan to operate your Chapter at a military facility or on a military installation, please ensure you or your Chapter Adjutant has a good working relationship with the local military MWR Office, especially if you plan on executing any Chapter (non-profit organization) fund raising activities.You must be careful that you don’t unintentionally compete with the PX, Commissary, or any other installation MWR entity.
- Each Chapter is required to have its own set of Constitution and Bylaws, or a Chapter Addendum to the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws.You can either use the National Association’s documents (attached) as your Chapter’s governing documents; or anything that deviates from the National Association’s documents requires the Chapter to establish its own Constitution and Bylaws and gain approval from the Association’s National Executive Council (NEC), and the local military installation MWR Office if you plan to operate the Chapter on the installation.
- Our AGCRA membership database has a Chapter affiliation field that individual members are responsible for filling out.Please remind your Chapter members to complete their Chapter affiliation when the Chapter is approved for activation.
- You will need to ensure that all Chapter Officers are AGCRA members.You’d be surprised at the number of Chapter Officers who don’t realize their memberships have expired.
- Additionally, you will need to ensure that the charter members of the proposed new Chapter are current members of the AGCRA. The minimum number of members required to start a chapter is 15 (the more, the better!).
The ultimate success of the Association and the satisfaction of its members will relate directly to the efforts put forth by the Chapters in the field. Growth in membership, continuing education, professional development, networking ideas, improving programs, and perpetuating the AG Corps and Regiment are functions and responsibilities that the Association can advocate, but only its Chapters can effectuate.