Department of Minnesota, 6th District


Benton-Sherburne County Council Minutes, 20 November 2023

Commander Stimmler called the regular 20 November 023 meeting of the Benton-Sherburne County Council to order at 7:30 pm at Elk River Post 112 with 22 present.

Minutes of the 18 September 2023 were posted with the meeting notice and were accepted. Finance report of $1,639.08 with no activity was accepted.

Roll Call of Posts/Aux/SAL: Becker-3, Big Lake-3, Clear Lake-1, Elk River-12, Foley-0, Rice-0, Sauk Rapids-1, Zimmerman-2.

Roll Call of Officers: Cmdr Stimmler-p, V Cmdr Riebel-p, Sgt @ Arms Johnstone-p, Chap/Finance Kulkay-p, Adj Takle-p.

Frank Grittner: At the Fall Conference, the 6th District received a Membership Award from the Natl Commander, the Fall conference has a lot of information for Posts, including a gambling seminar. The Natl is planning $5.00 dues increase for 2025, Dept a $3.00 and the Dist $2.00. No plans for the Aux or SAL. Upcoming events: Pearl Harbor Rally on 9 Dec, 6th Dist Oratorical Contest for 8th-12th graders at Nisswa 20 Jan, 6th Dist Mid-Winter at Aitkin 27 Jan. Membership: the 6th Dist is currently in first place in the Dept. Three-year memberships are being pushed-will avoid an increase for those years. Background checks may be needed for all involved in youth activities. Nov Distr Newsletter online.

Post Activities:

Elk River: Over 90 veterans and family members attended an open house with the CVSO’s of Anoka, Wright and Sherburne counties in September, 86 attended the Veterans Day dinner. Honor Guard: Vets Day programs at 5 schools, visits to 5 nursing homes, 2 funerals and Girls hockey game, Spaghetti dinner, 25 Nov. Riders: breakfast-bingo-bloody Mary’s 19 Nov and breakfast with Santa 17 Dec.  Aux: Nov Craft and Bake Sale, Christmas Bake Sale 8 Dec; DECA students helped serve the Veterans Day dinner.  Advertising on Face Book with person running the site.

Zimmerman: Holding a blood mobile at the new firehall 12 Dec, Bingo Mondays, 9 Dec Army Navy Game event. SAL holds a meat raffle and is having a gun raffle. Aux had over 200 for Trunk or Treat, served Thanksgiving Dinner, having a Santa & Cocoa event, received a plaque for donating $5,000 to Am Leg Children’s Foundation.

Sauk Rapids: Participated in Veterans Day ceremonies, funerals and “Jingle Mingle Festival” parade 9 Dec.

Becker: Have a raffle, facebook page, 7 Dec a spaghetti feed, 27 year lease for post home finalized and are replacing the roof and adding new heater for meeting room, participated in Vets Day school events, presented flags at new bus garage, planning Pearl Harbor Day celebration, raffle ends 12 Dec. SAL hosted new dept commander, Sep concert well received with money raised for Fisher House, working with Monticello for Toy for Tots, and having a craft sale 2-3 Dec.

Big Lake:  Wednesdays @ the Buff- Meat Raffle (6:00-9:00) and Bingo (7:00-9:00), Sunday Bingo & Meat Raffle @ 1:00.  Dinner on 14 Oct - served 93 people, 2 renewals and 6 new members, on Veterans Day – Breakfast at Lake Café and ceremony for fallen heroes at 7 am, High School program 10 Nov, Santa Day on 3 Dec from 1:00-3:00 at the Buff.

Clear Lake: Held an Quilt of Honor ceremony for 3 WWII members, 97,96 & 96 years old. Will have a holiday program, breakfast with St Nick, with the Clear Lake Cub Scouts, and are looking for a stair’s chair lift.

Sick Call: Wayne Gilbertson, now on hospice at Bee Hive in Elk River, and Pat Wolney.

Next meeting – 15 January 2024 at Big Lake.

Jerome A. Takle                                           Bud Stimmler

Adjutant                                                       Commander


Boys State

Murray Bright

As I reflect on this upcoming Boys State (scheduled for June 9-15), I see no reason why we cannot double our numbers again this year.  To that end, I would like to offer some information for thought.

Firstly (for those posts that have been having little to no success): If you are going to proceed the same way you did the last couple years, thinking you might have different results – well, you know what they say about that.  Your approach and your messaging should be re-evaluated.  What follows is what I have found to enhance my chances for success:

My Approach

Certainly, referrals from last year’s attendees is a good start. But, other than that, here’s what I do:

1) Talk directly with the school counselor and/or principal and make sure they understand the value of our program.  Ask them to provide 6-8 recommendations. (They tend to treat us as a “recruiter” and are willing to provide the student’s name and their parent’s name with home phone number.)

2) Call the parent first; explain that you are with the American Legion and that the school has recommended their son as a good candidate for one of our premier programs; that you intend to select 2-3 boys from their school for a week-long, all expenses paid adventure to take place at St. John’s university next June. I then provide additional information, such as:

  • this program is called “Boys State” and has been around for 75 years
  • approximately 10,000 boys from the junior class in the U.S. will have this adventure this June in their respective states.
  • We anticipate about 200 – 250 in Minnesota this year. (and repeat: we cover all expenses)
  • We gather the best and brightest we can assemble and give them tasks that test their ability to communicate, collaborate and compete with each other.
  • The boys will form their own fully functional government, compete in a variety of sports, and participate in music if they choose.
  • This is honestly a big deal.  Some of the graduates of this adventure include the following:
    • a. Bill Gates (entrepreneur gazillionaire)
    • b. Bill Clinton (former U. S. President)
    • c. Dick Cheney (former U. S. Vice President)
    • d. Bruce Springsteen (musician)
    • e. Samuel Alito (U. S. Supreme Court Justice)
    • f. Troy Aikman (Dallas Cowboys Quarterback)
    • g. Garth Brookes (Country Singer)
    • h.  Scott Walker (former governor of Wisconsin)
    • i. Michael Jordan (former NBA)
    • k. Jon bon Jovi (musician)
  • They can get additional information from the Minnesota Legion’s website “mnlegion.org”: scroll down the home page to “programs”, then click on the “boys state website”

3) Ask the parent for permission to talk directly to their son, and if so, ask for the boy’s phone number.  Ask the parent to let their son know you will be calling him in a few days.

4) Then, give the boy a call and give him the above information and stress the additional points:

  • Having attended Boys State is a valuable entry to include on their resume.
  • Testing their personal skills with the best and brightest is valuable experience.
  • Creating a network of sharp people their age can serve them well in the future.
  • Having first had experience of how government actually works can serve them well.

5) If the boy shows substantial interest, ask him for a referral to another boy (perhaps a good friend).

6) When you have lined up a list of interested boys, schedule a time to meet them and their parents for a question/answer time

7) lock the boy in on his word.


Now: What are the typical obstacles, other than knowledge? Sometimes, there is a school activity that continues into the Boys State week. If the boy is going to only miss one day of the program, we can work around that.  As for summer employment: personally, I have never had that be an obstacle.  Employers are happy to allow the boys to have the honor of attending our program.