Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
December 17, 2017, 11:46:08 AM
Home Help Login Register
News:

CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: After a hiccup, we're back on track...
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Pages: 1 2 [All] Print
Author Topic: After a hiccup, we're back on track...  (Read 2321 times)
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« on: October 13, 2017, 07:30:35 AM »

My unit has done cohort recruiting for 15+ years now.  Works wonders, the unit has been strong, vibrant, busy, etc for all that time.

earlier this year we wanted to try starting a cohort without actually going thru the gigantic dog & pony show that is a unit open house and recruiting night, so we held a "membership night" in January. Garnered us 6 new cadets. OK, not bad for a nascent effort.

Then, we stumbled. The spring open house event, which in Spring 2016 netted us 22 new cadets,  was scheduled without looking hard at the calendar. The week after spring vacation week. Durrrr.  Turn out was low, low, low and we only had 4 cadets join.

Now, those of you that know me might know that this crushed me pretty hard.  This stuff is my bread and butter.  I was like "wahaaa? What happened?" Then we pieced it together, realized what happened with the scheduling, and we'll not make that same mistake twice.

This past month, we held an Open House that was well attended but not nearly as strong as the Spring 2016 event.  I was hopeful that we'd get a good batch of cadets. My Magic Number was depending on it. (We were going shrink by 6-8 cadets due to the failure to launch of the spring event)  We handed out 24 of the 30 cadet packets we had made up at the Open House and it looked good. My gut said maybe 16 or 17 would join.

Meeting after the open house, I had 18 prospective cadets standing in my basic flight for Week Zero.  Uh, wow? (I won't talk about the 4-5 seniors, LOL).

During the last two weeks the prospects and thier families have been completing the online application. I expected a little "melt" from the 18. I figured we'd get 16 out of that. Not bad, but not going to completely help our growth rate.

Just before I left for the meeting last night for Inprocessing Night, I checked eServices. 17 pending apps.  *dance*

We knocked out the 17 new cadets in the queue. Oh, and the 2 sibling cadets with paper apps. Thats 19!  And, there's a young lady who, thru sheer word of mouth from the basic cadets, came last night to find out about this Civil Air Patrol thing.  She got a new cadet packet and will continue with this basic flight, and in two weeks we'll inprocess her, as well.  So if she joins, thats 20.

*boom*

:)
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
kwe1009
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 758

« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 09:37:06 AM »

That is pretty awesome!  Just curious how are your retention numbers?  With that kind of influx your squadron must be huge.  I'm sure you have done this in the past but could you share some tips and perhaps your cadet packets? Thank you.
Logged
Jester
Seasoned Member

Posts: 225

« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2017, 10:25:01 AM »

One thing I’m struggling with is the infrastructure to support that kind of growth. I barely have the senior and cadet staff I need to deal with what I have, much less a constant cycle of cohort recruiting.

Logged
isuhawkeye
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,305

John's web site
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 11:04:52 AM »

cohort recruiting works for adults too
Logged
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 01:09:46 PM »

cohort recruiting works for adults too
Indeed, it has worked well in the past. :)

with the advent of online Level I, past commanders and PDOs have not seen the need to do a corhort of seniors for commonality of training purposes.

But there is definitely a benefit for other bits of training and adminstrative processes like membership boards and fingerprints.

Personally, I'm a fan. I can't seem to get some folks out of the "jump on them when they walk in the door, lest they walk out the door and never come back" mindset.
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2017, 01:11:33 PM »

That is pretty awesome!  Just curious how are your retention numbers?  With that kind of influx your squadron must be huge.  I'm sure you have done this in the past but could you share some tips and perhaps your cadet packets? Thank you.
First year retention hovers north of 40% (and varies, as you can expect, with activity, or lack thereof, or "satisfaction" or leadership), subsequent year retention is around 70-75%.

I'll have the cadet packet "example" materials in a google drive soonest.  And I'll share.
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 01:37:51 PM »

One thing I’m struggling with is the infrastructure to support that kind of growth. I barely have the senior and cadet staff I need to deal with what I have, much less a constant cycle of cohort recruiting.
Interestingly,  cohort tends to "scale" a little.  The first couple  times you do it, you'll likely get a number of members that roughly corresponds to about 15-20% of your existing membership. Unless your effort is *really* on point, you're not going to be tremendously successful that very first time you do it.   

I hear a lot from people where they say "We don't have the personnel to do that kind of effort."

When you think about it, if you're doing the usual "trickle-in" recruiting, every few weeks probably your personnel officer is corralling a couple membership apps from people, pulling people from what they're doing for the membership board, logistics has to do "new member" stuff, your training people have to deal with new people suddenly in their basic flight, etc.

With cohort, we concentrate all the "new member effort" in just one or two nights.  Open House is one night (dog and pony show), Week Zero (orientation) is strictly training, and then In-processing night. *boom*

Using my example, I took 20 new cadets in with a normal "recruiting night" event, and one night of "paperwork". The membership boards and logistics issue took longer than the actual verification and packet assembly step. Even training a new person to help with the verification, it took us about 45 minutes to do the first step, two hours total to do all the steps end-to-end, and now we don't do it again until the spring.  My Basic Cadet Training people can concentrate on training _one_ group of people who are _all_on the same level of training all the way through.

Imagine the chaos at Lackland if a training flight got 2 "new"guys every week for 8 weeks.. :)

Once you start doing it, everybody knows their role and effort and it becomes very familiar to all. Checklists come out, sign off sheets, etc. Tick, tick, tick. Sign, here, tick this box there. Submit. "Welcome to Civil Air Patrol!"
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
Jester
Seasoned Member

Posts: 225

« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 01:59:54 PM »

I mainly meant keeping track of / conducting good meetings for that many cadets after they’re all indoctrinated and whatnot. How big is the CP staff (seniors and cadets)?  How do you organize it most effectively and efficiently?
Logged
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 02:16:05 PM »

I mainly meant keeping track of / conducting good meetings for that many cadets after they’re all indoctrinated and whatnot. How big is the CP staff (seniors and cadets)?  How do you organize it most effectively and efficiently?
CP staff is DCC, Leadership Officer, Activities Officer (and a part-part-part time testing officer).

Basic Cadet Training has three cadets: a C/CMSgt NCOIC and two C/MSgts. With a small number of cadets, you can use just 1-2 trainers. You can also use the 5 week great start program.  We use a modified version that's about 9 training days (plus a half-day weekend day in the middle where we go to a computer lab and ensure that everybody has their eServices account squared away).

They learn the basic C/Amn stuff: very basic individual drill with a little bit of movement (movement is not on the test for C/Amn, but we do it), Chapt 1 Leadership subjects, Wingman course, some training on PT (that includes a block on nutrition and exercise, a diagnostic PFT and then record PFT), uniform wear, customs and courtesies, and some basic "Cadet Subjects" like core values, cadet oath, etc, etc.

Again, **mostly** the stuff needed to complete Achivement One, but not "sink or swim", rather "here this is in a graduated introduction, ok now take your test, ok, now here's your PFT for promotion.." etc.

Then, at the end of BCT, they're promoted, and handed off to their flights so their element leaders can pick up further training in uniform wear, drill, aerospace...
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 03:34:21 PM »

The other thing to think about is that old saw about "how do you cook a frog?"


The first time we did this we did not get 20 cadets. Pretty consistently however over the years we have gotten between 12 and 16 cadets as we started hitting our stride.

The thing is, when you start you might only get four or five cadets.

Personnel and Logistics can probably figure their way around  doing all the new members stuff for four or five Cadets  in one night . You probably have two Cadet NCOs or Cadet officers who can train four or five people pretty easily.

Then next time you train five or six. It's just one or two more than you had last time so everybody should still be able to do their thing.

Before you know it, 10 new Cadets you don't even blink at. You have built your process up to such a repeatable standard that whether you do all of this for five cadets or 15, it just hums along.

But it did not get that way in one shot. Or two shots.

But it may have come about over the course of 12 or 18 months and while you are at it you, double the size of your squadron and didn't even know it.

The other thing not to be discounted about the cohort model is sometimes if you make people wait a little bit, the ones that do come back are the ones who are motivated and interested. It's sort of a filter.

I think that a lot of our first-year retention problems are related to new Cadets signing up without knowing exactly what they're getting into and they do it on a whim. And of course if the unit makes it way too easy to join whenever, then it's also way too easy because you don't have much invested, to leave whenever. Telling someone who walks in the door next week "I'm sorry you're going to have to wait until the spring. Let me get your contact information and give you a call about a month before our next recruiting event" tends to filter out what the British refer to as the "punters."

The ones that do come back in the spring in response to your email are the ones who are really truly interested in being there probably. And they're likely not to go away as easily.
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 865

« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 03:46:46 PM »

We might get a handful who visit and act interested. One shows up at the next meeting, then another 3 weeks later and another a month later. Kids and parents working out schedules and making decisions.  So if we wanted to train them all at the same time, would mean waiting a couple months until we have a group of newbies. So of course we do not. Each starts as they join.

Or ... are you turning folks away if they come in the middle and give them the date when training starts for the new batch?

Maybe our squadron is too casual.
Logged
MS - MO - AP - MP
Spaceman3750
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,620

« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 07:09:52 PM »

And here I was happy with 7 in my Sept-Oct cohort (with 3 more already in line for Feb-March). We have seen some positive impact from cohort in senior recruiting as well, with 3 active parents of cohort cadets joining this year.
Logged
The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Mitchell 1969
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 694
Unit: PCR-CA-051

« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 07:29:37 PM »

I’ve done it both ways - sign them up because “a cadet in the hand is worth two in the bush,” and “Great! Here is our next scheduled membership intake schedule! Fill this out, we will give you a reminder call.” The dribble-ins don’t always show up at opportune moments and might get discouraged. The cohort members are expected and plans have been made. They tend to stick around longer.

The cohort/standard intake system may seem like it discourages returns, but it doesn’t. It discourages people who only went to the meeting because their buddy wanted company, or because their parents thought it would be great to introduce socialization to a homeschool curriculum. The ones who really want it will go home and circle the next date in their calendar.

Cohorts are also a benefit to parents for scheduling. If Timmy is going to be occupied with CAP on Wednesdays after dinner, then they will not schedule Timmy for tuba lessons after dinner on Wednesday.

Aaaannnddd...it can also help take advantage of part-time Senior staff. There are always those guys who can’t commit to every week, but who will make sure they are there for the third Wednesday so they can do their testing/issuing/teaching/whatever and mesh into the standardized schedule.   


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Logged
_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.
Shawn W.
Member

Posts: 76

« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 08:26:17 PM »

NIN,

PM sent.
Logged
Cicero
Forum Regular

Posts: 132
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2017, 03:43:27 AM »

We are up 18+ in the last 90 days. :)
Logged
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2017, 10:34:58 AM »

We are up 18+ in the last 90 days. :)
nice!!
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
JAFO78
Seasoned Member

Posts: 388

« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2017, 11:58:39 PM »

I brought up recruiting to our squadron commander back in late Aug, early Sept. His reply was "I don't think our cadet staff could handle anyone new" Kind of took the wind out of the sails. We do have several new cadets join, the last month, but still, it was them just showing up, no recruiting night like some other squadrons in our Wing. Really heart breaking that our SQD CDR had no trust in our cadet staff
Logged
JAFO
Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,094
Unit: SI

« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2017, 12:03:51 AM »

I brought up recruiting to our squadron commander back in late Aug, early Sept. His reply was "I don't think our cadet staff could handle anyone new" Kind of took the wind out of the sails. We do have several new cadets join, the last month, but still, it was them just showing up, no recruiting night like some other squadrons in our Wing. Really heart breaking that our SQD CDR had no trust in our cadet staff

Sometimes it is more than a lack of faith. At times the cadet staff fails to deliver. But the answer there is for the senior staff to step in and help them get in gear while looking for long term solutions. The benefit of recruiting is that you get a bigger pool to get leadership material from.
Logged
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
***
Posts: 28,082

« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2017, 12:05:14 AM »

+1

So what's his plan?   Run out the clock?

If the cadet staff can't handle it, then the seniors are supposed to, whether that means
"drive from the backseat", or "take the wheel" is situationally dependent, but you don't
just let the car drift into the ditch.
Logged

"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." - Napoleon Hill.
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2017, 11:20:58 AM »

*sigh*

 We hear this a lot. A LOT.

 "We don't want to grow."

 ORLY?

 The stereotypical unit I hear this from is 15-20 cadets on the books, 8-10 showing up. 5 or 6 seniors on the books, 3 showing up.  This is not a CAP squadron. Its a flight barely staying ahead of annual charter review.

 Most of us can point to at least one if not more units like this in our wings.  The unit that perennially is "never big enough to get big enough" and yet they proudly tell anybody who will listen "We'd rather have 10 good members than 100 bad ones."   Last time I looked, it wasn't a binary choice.

 Most CAP squadrons can make a pretty go of things in their area if they make growth a priority, not an adjunct.  Growth does come with activity and presence, but presence and activity sometimes can't happen without growth.  Put another way: "Your feet may be moving, but at the end of the day, marking time really ain't marching." 

 And I'm not talking about doubling the size of the unit overnight or something. 2-5% growth is manageable and positive.

 Sometimes its the fishbowl effect: the unit only grows to the size its facility will support and no larger. Time for a new facility.

 Sometimes its a leadership thing: Some commanders aren't comfortable or skilled at leading people and find it easier to manage things when there's just 3-4 other adults and they can personally micromanage supervise every little thing that happens.   How many units pivot on ONE person?  How many times have you seen that unit where if Major Hooosiewhatsits and his wife, Capt Hooosiewhatits, aren't at the unit activity, there is no unit activity?   

 How do we solve these issues?  Many issues we face in CAP today can be solved with additional personnel. Additional trained personnel.

 Almost never will someone look at problem unit and say "Yep, 90% of their problem is, they have too many members."  Its almost *always* the other way around.  They don't have enough trained members to reach a critical mass.


Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
JAFO78
Seasoned Member

Posts: 388

« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2017, 12:40:36 PM »

Right now several SM have no confidence in our unit commander. I won't get into the reason why here as we are talking recruiting.

We have lost 2 cadets to AFA, one to AF ROTC, and 3 to active AF duty. a couple more to college. They where our strong leaders. Our current cadet staff is a C/1LT, and 2 C/2LT. We have a CMSGT ready to become C/2LT. a C/Capt. close to C/LTC.  We have two of our newer Cadets who are shining and keeping on eye on them, (Future Officers)

Logged
JAFO
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2017, 01:31:01 PM »

Yeah, really talking about confidence in unit commanders' abilities is a larger topic beyond recruiting (but, interestingly enough dovetails completely into retention)

Speaking broadly across my experience, units that claim they don't want to grow are usually led by insecure or barely-capable leaders who are afraid that if the unit gets too big that they'll be unable to manage things.  They're comfortable across a 5-10 member range where they can put everybody in a room and thats that.

When you get beyond that, its like "Something might happen that I wasn't completely in control of."

Jeez, as a unit commander I almost HOPE things happen that I didn't have to personally prompt and supervise. :)

Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,686
Unit: of issue

« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2017, 06:37:54 PM »

Apparently my public school education has not taught me how to count. I was just tidying up the loose ends on all the new members and realize that we have completely in processed 20 new members.

So if the young lady who is going to turn in her online application next week actually does so, our fall effort will have netted us 21 cadets.

Almost 30% better than I had hoped.

This week: seniors
Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
Cicero
Forum Regular

Posts: 132
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2017, 11:51:18 AM »

Apparently my public school education has not taught me how to count. I was just tidying up the loose ends on all the new members and realize that we have completely in processed 20 new members.

So if the young lady who is going to turn in her online application next week actually does so, our fall effort will have netted us 21 cadets.

Almost 30% better than I had hoped.

This week: seniors

We are up 40% in the last 90 days. :)
Logged
Pages: 1 2 [All] Print 
CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: After a hiccup, we're back on track...
 


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP SMF 2.0.13 | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.504 seconds with 20 queries.