Royal Canadian Legion Branch 113 – also known as the Ashcroft Legion – has been undergoing a quiet metamorphosis at the corner of Brink and 3rd St.
“The Legion used to be open to just military or family of military,” says Branch 113 president George Cook. “Now it’s getting to be more of a community function,”
In fact, the Legion hosts a variety of community functions and donates to many different community groups.
“We’re always looking for new members,” he says.
Volunteers help run the activities, put on the suppers and tournaments. However, “You don’t have to do any more than you want to,” he says. “If you don’t want to do more than come out and play darts, that’s fine.”
The first Legion opened in Winnipeg in 1926. The Ashcroft branch has been in town for more than 45 years.
It hosts large events like the annual Robbie Burns Supper, Remembrance Day; it organizes the Poppy Drive, the Christmas Craft Fair in the Cache Creek Community Hall; it offers Friday night suppers, Meat Draws, the occasional concert (Nov. 6 is the next one with Steve Hogg); drop in darts, and cards.
He points out that Ashcroft is one of the few Legions left that has a curling team, and it will be hosting the Legion Provincials at the Ashcroft Curling Club in January.
They also just hosted the Provincial Euchre Tournament recently with 40 players taking part.
Cooke says children can come to the Friday night suppers with their guardians. In fact, he says, the Legion needs to see more young people come through its doors.
The Legion’s members are traditionally from an older generation. Cooke says he’d like to see them passing on their knowledge and their stories to the younger generation while there is still time. Remembrance Day is often full of reminiscing and war stories.
The local sea cadets have benefited from their association with the Legion and take part in some of their ceremonies.
Cooke has been a part of the Legion’s executive for 15 of the last 20 years.
“It’s something I enjoy,” he says. “I enjoy the people I know through the Legion. It’s just something that feels good.”