Many have heard of the Army Reserve Association’s scholarship programs, but not everyone knows exactly what the organization’s overall mission is, or what its other functions are. Actually, the scholarships are but one component of the ARA’s efforts to support the Army Reserve in multiple ways. Truly living up to their motto, “Semper Promptus,” (Latin for “Always at Hand”), the ARA represents the interests of Reserve members in front of legislative bodies all over the U.S., from the local and state level, all the way up to the U.S. Congress. Virtually any issue of importance to Reservists becomes a cause célèbre for the ARA.
One of the organization’s strong points is its support of the entire spectrum of the U.S. Army Reserve, including enlisted members, officers, and civilians. In fact the ARA counts many civilians among its family of members, some of whom are relatives of Reservists, and some who just want to support the cause. ARA publishes a regular newsletter that updates the readership about pertinent issues, legislative business, relevant national political debates, and anything else remotely related to the Army Reserve.
Besides political and current events, the newsletter covers an entire spectrum of topics that impact Reservists, like the challenge of multiple careers, family-related concerns, and employment issues. Part lobbying organization and part advocacy group, the ARA teams up with diverse nonprofit organizations to enhance the quality of life for Army Reserve personnel and their loved ones.
The ARA and USAA (United Services Automobile Association) work together to administer the USAR Enlisted Scholarship Program, which annually awards $25,000 to 50 different recipients. USAA covers the entire financial cost of the program. While the scholarship program gets the lion’s share of media attention, the ARA works at many other tasks on a daily basis. The organization’s specific mission entails a myriad of jobs, all of which live up to the ARA mission statement, “To be an advocate of a strong United States Army Reserve in support of national defense.”
To become involved with the ARA, and to help it achieve its long list of legislative and support goals, the annual membership fee is just $18. Members typically come from the Army Reserve, of course, but also include veterans and family members of anyone connected to the U.S. Army or Army Reserve. The ARA has plenty of corporations and private citizens who are proud to be members of an organization that works in countless ways for the benefit of the Army Reserve and its massive constituency, both civilian and military.
Author Larry Bell is a professional writer, comedian, and automotive enthusiast whose work can be seen at www.myperfectautomobile.com and many other online publications. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.