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Barrie's Royal Canadian Legion gears up for Spring Convention, looks to attract new members

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For the first time in roughly 10 years, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 147 in Barrie will host this year's Spring Convention.

Roughly 30 legions will participate in the convention, allowing members to catch up and discuss pressing issues.

"Conventions are really important because it gets the branches together that wouldn't normally see each other if they are from different zones and whatnot," said Judi Giovanetti, local arrangements chairman with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 147.

"There's a lot of networking. We talk about whatever new business is coming down from our provincial command, our dominion command, whatever information that they want the branches to know so we can all work effectively," Giovanette added.

Officials with Branch 147 added they have faced a few challenges since getting back into the swing of things following the pandemic shutdowns.

One challenge includes adding to their numbers as officials look to bring in new members.

"If we want to keep the doors open and the lights on, and keep operating, we need to have people coming in, joining the legion and taking part of all that stuff because the money goes towards the veterans and their families," said Fern Taillefer, Barrie Royal Canadian Legion's vice president.

"If we could bring the younger generation into the legion, that would help a lot. We've actually stopped saying [that] you have to be a veteran to join. Anyone can join now," Teillefer said.

Taillefer pointed out that the legion's finances are also strained, delaying much-needed renovations.

"We have an elevator that's older than me. It's going to cost us about $125,000 to replace this elevator, but it's crucial to have this elevator here because you have a lot of older folks in wheelchairs, canes, and they can't go up and down the stairs," said Taillefer.

The convention will kick off Saturday morning with various meetings followed by a parade just before 1:00 p.m. at the legion.

The convention will wrap up on Sunday afternoon.

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