Oratorical: Chair

From the Chair

September 2023

This year, in an effort to save money, the National office moved the National contest to Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI. It’s a small college equidistant to Detroit, Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Grand Rapids. That changed the date for the National contest, which created a domino effect for departments.

We aim to have about a month between contests at each level, with the Department contest being held about a month before the National contest. That way, only a little time has elapsed since students have given their speeches.

The new date for the National contest is May 17-19, 2024. The new date for the Department contest is March 30, 2024, at the headquarters in Orlando.

The dates for the other contests are here:

  • Post Level
    December 1, 2023 – January 21, 2024
  • District Level
    January 22, 2024- February 10, 2024
  • Area Level
    February 11, 2024 – March 09, 2024
  • Department Finals
    March 30, 2024

These are the time frames for each respective level to have their contest.

And speaking of timing, the school has just started this week in most of FL, so this is when the Oratorical chairperson and volunteers can start working on their programs.

I am in the process of writing an addendum to the manual that discusses the duties of a chairperson in more detail.

But for those interested, it’s a lot of recruiting. If you are a Post chair, you need to be recruiting people to help visit the schools in your geographic area. Then you try to recruit students to compete. This program’s most challenging part is finding students who will participate. Then if you get some contestants, you need to recruit some judges and timekeepers!

I will give many more details about your duties as a chairperson and try to help make it less intimidating. In the meantime, feel free to text or email me.

I encourage you to get in the habit of learning to delegate some of your responsibilities to these kinds of people. This program is very labor intensive in the beginning, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Florida is a big state to cover, and the more we have on our team, the better. Be creative in finding ways or tasks to delegate to others.
I have already delegated one task to Huey Fourquet of Post 83 in Baker County. He will write all of the judges’ biographies for the Department contest. This is a huge benefit to me as I spend a lot of time writing, re-writing, and emailing the judges to get the information.

I thank Commander Michael Raymond for the opportunity to serve by chairing this program again. Ask for help or guidance any time you need it. I will send out a mass email to everyone soon, but feel free to email me so I can start updating my spreadsheet!

If you want a phone call, it’s best to text me first to say—can you call me? Texting is the fastest way to get in touch with me. My cell is 904-704-0936. And my email is oratorical@legionmail.org.

Meri West
Oratorical Chair