Southwest hosts Divisional Advisory Organizations Conference

Kathy Lovin, from territorial headquarters (center), presents her Public Information Officer training.
Photo by Marlene Klotz-Collins


Delegates from four states attended.

By Marlene Klotz-Collins

The Southwest Divisional Advisory Organizations Conference brought together 130 delegates representing aspects of Army leadership from advisory boards, to adult rehabilitation centers (ARCs), to corps Sept. 26-28 in Phoenix.

“We wanted to help bridge the time gap between national conferences by presenting a variety of excellent sessions and workshops to our officers and volunteers,” said Southwest Divisional Commander Lt. Col. Joe Posillico. “Importantly, the conference also provided a platform for idea exchange and relationship building between participants at all levels.”

Delegates came from four states to hear keynote sessions led by nationally recognized communicator Bert Decker and National Advisory Board member Dick Hagerty. Workshops included best practices, working with the media, Christmas ideas, managing thrift stores, building strong development teams, how to read Salvation Army financial statements, and planning fabulous fundraising events.

“The conference far exceeded our expectations,” said Hector Acosta, intern at the Phoenix Maryvale Corps. “We are eager to share this information with classmates when we enter the College for Officer Training later this year.”

Advisory board members found the conference both motivating and educational about the Army’s work. Bill Dennis, advisory board chairperson from Albuquerque, N.M., said, “Since the conference, I’ve structured a whole new orientation/training session for new advisory board members and restructured the committees based upon ideas gleaned from the conference.”

During an evening at the Kroc Center, delegates were introduced to several young men and women whose lives have been touched and changed by The Salvation Army. At the ARC, conference attendees heard from a current beneficiary as well as one who graduated nearly two decades ago from the Phoenix Harbor Light.

“The Salvation Army saved my life,” said Jeff Taylor, who today is a lobbyist in Arizona’s state legislature, and is successful in initiating and advancing the cause of getting abusers into facilities like the ARC.

As a result of the positive feedback from the conference, the Southwest Division looks forward to growing and continuing this event.

“Bringing our officers and boards together in such an inspiring, educational way is invaluable,” Decker said. “Every division and territory should gather these best practices at an event every year or two.”

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