SINGAPORE - Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Mrs Josephine Teo, officially took over the presidency of HomeTeamNS on Sunday (Nov 26).
This marks the first time a woman is leading the non-profit organisation that recognises the contributions of Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen).
Mrs Teo takes over from Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee.
Mrs Teo, who is also the Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs, said being HomeTeamNS' first woman president did not bother her, adding that the organisation's members have welcomed her.
When asked if her lack of national service experience would be an issue, she said: "The good thing is that HomeTeamNS is supported by a very committed team of volunteers, and they have been through NS. They bring many good ideas to the table, I am very happy to serve alongside them."
She added: "I fully intend to hear their views and get hold of the good ideas they bring to the table."
Mrs Teo said she plans to continue making HomeTeamNS relevant to its members, and that the clubhouses would be her next priority.
“As a result of this year-long celebration (NS50 to mark 50 years of national service) and added push in activities, we now have 200,000 members, and we want to be able to reach out to them and get them involved in the development of the clubhouses so that whatever we put into them is relevant.”
HomeTeamNS membership rose this year by around 20,000 to more than 200,000, the largest subscription in its 12-year history.
This increase is partially due to the NS50 Recognition Package that was rolled out earlier this year - it offered complimentary membership.
A HomeTeamNS spokesman said this meant that more than 80 per cent of eligible members have signed up nationwide.
At the HomeTeamNS NS50 Finale Event - HomeTeamNS Members Extravaganza held at Suntec City, on Sunday Mrs Teo launched the association's newly revamped Frontline bimonthly magazine, which now has a microsite.
She also handed out 66 Children's Education Awards worth $42,000 in total.
HomeTeamNS member Jason Lim said he was excited about Mrs Teo's appointment.
"I think she has shown a lot of support for NSmen all along, and there are many things we are looking forward to doing with her, like the digital transformation of the way we communicate with our members," said the 34-year-old digital media entrepreneur.
Mrs Teo also launched the #NSmemories campaign that aims to raise the profile of Home Team NSmen and give them a platform to remember their NS days.
Members can upload their memories on the Frontline microsite, and selected stories will be turned into comic strips.
Ms Agnes Eu, chief executive of HomeTeamNS, said: "The #NSmemories campaign is one of the many innovative ways that HomeTeamNS… came up with to galvanise our Home Team NS community. We would like to encourage all NSmen, members and families to share their stories with us."