Become the Force Initiative Increases Enrollment
By: Brooke Turbyfill
When Territorial Headquarters announced a new enrollment initiative “Become the Force” that would run from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, Captains Luis and Laura Melendez looked at the McAllen, Texas, Corps roll book. What the corps officers saw surprised them.
They noticed several parents and family members of Junior Soldiers, Corps Cadets and senior soldiers had been attending the corps for years . . . but never enrolled. “We decided to continue the recruitment of new soldiers and adherents using the theme of the initiative itself,” said Captain Luis Melendez. “Our emphasis was on ‘Become.’ Some shared that they had raised their children in The Salvation Army. Some, not wanting the commitment of uniform wearing, overlooked membership through becoming an adherent. This gave us an opportunity to teach and present to our recruits that they could and should become part of The Salvation Army church family. The group expressed they were not aware they could become church members by joining as adherents. They were thrilled to join their children and grandchildren and now felt they belonged officially as they ‘Became’ part of the Army’s force.”
The 15-adherent enrollment won the McAllen Corps first place in the initiative. Every corps participating got $50 towards uniform costs and program supplies for each junior soldier and adherent enrolled and $75 for each senior soldier enrolled during the Oct. 1, 2014-Sept. 20, 2015, time period. Funds were reimbursed quarterly once numbers were reported through the Roll Manager computer tracking system. The McAllen Corps also received two scholarships to the Southern Bible Conference in 2016.
The Columbus, Georgia, Corps, won in the Junior Soldiers category and its prize was two scholarships to EQUIP, which was held May 2-5, 2016, as well as $300 each to help with travel expenses. The corps that enrolled the most senior soldiers, Kernersville, North Carolina, was awarded two scholarships to the National Seminar on Evangelism.
Divisions won prizes, too. Each division that matched its goal of increasing 15 percent over the five-year average enrollment number in Junior Soldiers received $1,000 to be used for a Junior Soldiers rally or camp. The division with the largest total increase by percentage in Junior Soldiers enrollment over their five-year average – Maryland-West Virginia – received an additional $1,000 for Junior Soldier programming.
The same increase netted the same monetary award for divisions reaching their goals with adherent and senior soldier enrollments. Those divisions – Maryland-West Virginia and Texas (adherents) and Kentucky-Tennessee and North-South Carolina (senior soldiers) – can use their $1,000 prize money towards DLOTS or a soldiers rally during the 2015-2016 program year.
Join the winning corps during commissioning weekend to celebrate the rich heritage of Junior Soldiers by recognizing Honor Junior Soldiers and any junior soldiers, senior soldiers and adherents who have been enrolled this year.