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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: To re-new or not
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CAPDCCMOM
Seasoned Member

Posts: 244

« on: November 30, 2016, 01:02:58 PM »

Greetings All.

I have almost two years in CAP now. I am looking at the Re-New Notice in E-Services, and for the life of me, I can't decide whether to press the click here to process, or just let it die out. There are some things that I completely enjoy about CAP. then there is the rest. I have had it with the cliqueism, and the GOB/G Network. I am tired of a uphill fight just to get simple answers, and people that think they are gate keepers rather than fellow volunteers. I have tried to be the change I want to see, and lead by example, to be hit with "That's how we have always done it". I had to laugh, the other evening, my highest ranking Cadet brought me his "Learn to Lead" and showed me where it said that is the response of a "Knee Jerk Leader", after the most Senior of our Senior Members made the exact comment, but "that's how we have always done it". I have even told that my volunteer service is not as valuable as others. I have even heard, at a Wing Level training, "if you don't fly or don't want to actively be a part of aviation, you don't belong in CAP". It has been an uphill  battle to get O Flights for Cadets, any mentoring.

But then I think of my Cadets, they are the reason I have stayed this long.
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Devil Doc
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 846
Unit: MER-NC-162

« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 01:15:34 PM »

Well to me it depends on what you do for CAP. I have the same issue every year myself rather to renew or not. I seem to find other ways to do CAP in my own way to keep me going.
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Captain Brandon P. Smith CAP
Former HM3, U.S NAVY
Too many Awards, Achievments and Qualifications to list.

Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
***
Posts: 27,684

« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 01:36:11 PM »

Are you still a CDC?

"that's how we have always done it".
If the only defense of an idea is the above, the idea generally has little merit.

I have even told that my volunteer service is not as valuable as others.
What was your response?  I'm sure you can imagine what mine would be.

I have even heard, at a Wing Level training, "if you don't fly or don't want to actively be a part of aviation, you don't belong in CAP". It has been an uphill  battle to get O Flights for Cadets, any mentoring.
What utter crap, especially when you look at the actual active membership and who is in uniform week-to-week (hint it's decidedly cadets and CP staff)

I get it, easy for me to say, I have "old kernel syndrome" meaning I know the program, don't have much ego in it anymore, and don't
cotton to nonsense.  I obey my superiors and try to be a team player as much as possible, but stuff like the above gets an immediate correction.

If more people who actually knew the program responded more directly when they know what they are hearing it wrong,
we'd all be better off. And yes, the "despite what the regs say, do this" attitudes are at the core of the issue.

This is the second or third time recently we're hearing about wings that make O-rides a hassle.  I just don't get this one bit,
assuming there isn't some other real factor, my wing and region are all about the rides, all the time, even to the point of bumping
proficiency in favor of cadets.  How is it this isn't the norm?

Bottom line, either you think you're making a difference within your sphere, and / or the ROI is at least even, or it isn't.
I think a lot of members make their renewal decision every meeting night when they decide whether or not to get dressed
at 6pm.  Then the day comes that they hit Tivo instead and before you know it they are gone.

If you're gonna go, hit renew, and make that last year memorable, in a positive "lead, follow, or get out of the way" kinda way.
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"Effort" does not equal "results".
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.

Toad1168
Forum Regular

Posts: 116
Unit: NCR-MO-110

« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 03:56:21 PM »

My answer to this question, and the reason I came back, is rather simple.  To be part of something bigger than yourself.  Yes we all face the old guard mentality.  After 20 years total, with a nine year hiatus, I have seen some of the same people making the same arguments that whole time.  I have also seen new up and comers who strive to make a difference.  It really becomes a question of what do you get out of it.  For me, it's seeing cadets get their first stripe.  And then the fire to keep going, striving for the next promotion.  Seeing parents brimming with pride at their son or daughter's accomplishments.  That is why I stay.  To pass on what I have learned and to help in whatever small way I can, to help shape our future leaders.  For without them, we are lost.
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Toad
Spaatz Award 1168 - 1 June 1993
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 838

« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 04:03:19 PM »

My A/CDC has contemplated quitting several times due to many of the issues he has seen in CAP leadership throughout various units, including some philosophical differences. I tried to explain to him that there is a greater cause in what we do, and up and quitting ends the hard work we put forth to ensure our cadets can learn to mature and take on responsibilities they may otherwise not experience should we walk away.

It takes time and constant effort to sustain it.
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CAP604
Recruit

Posts: 13

« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 04:02:38 AM »

In my 20+ years in CAP, I have seen my ups and downs and have been where you are right now. My advice is to stay in; if you wish to keep making an impact and possibly a change, you can only do that by being a Member. Take a leave if needed, but keep in the program.... Nothing here can get better if you are on the outside looking in.
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Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,015
Unit: SI

« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 04:40:14 AM »

Greetings All.

I have almost two years in CAP now. I am looking at the Re-New Notice in E-Services, and for the life of me, I can't decide whether to press the click here to process, or just let it die out. There are some things that I completely enjoy about CAP. then there is the rest. I have had it with the cliqueism, and the GOB/G Network. I am tired of a uphill fight just to get simple answers, and people that think they are gate keepers rather than fellow volunteers. I have tried to be the change I want to see, and lead by example, to be hit with "That's how we have always done it". I had to laugh, the other evening, my highest ranking Cadet brought me his "Learn to Lead" and showed me where it said that is the response of a "Knee Jerk Leader", after the most Senior of our Senior Members made the exact comment, but "that's how we have always done it". I have even told that my volunteer service is not as valuable as others. I have even heard, at a Wing Level training, "if you don't fly or don't want to actively be a part of aviation, you don't belong in CAP". It has been an uphill  battle to get O Flights for Cadets, any mentoring.

But then I think of my Cadets, they are the reason I have stayed this long.

The best advice I can give is to just throw your focus into the unit. There is plenty you can do in a unit before even dipping your toe into group/wing level politics.
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Brit_in_CAP
Seasoned Member

Posts: 349
Unit: MER-VA-002

« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2016, 10:43:48 AM »


I have even told that my volunteer service is not as valuable as others.
What was your response?  I'm sure you can imagine what mine would be.

I have even heard, at a Wing Level training, "if you don't fly or don't want to actively be a part of aviation, you don't belong in CAP". It has been an uphill  battle to get O Flights for Cadets, any mentoring.
What utter crap, especially when you look at the actual active membership and who is in uniform week-to-week (hint it's decidedly cadets and CP staff)


If you're gonna go, hit renew, and make that last year memorable, in a positive "lead, follow, or get out of the way" kinda way.

I don't always agree with Eclipse, but when I do, I do so vigorously!
(Just waiting for the meme picture now....)

Seriously: this is good advice, and my reaction to being told my service was less valuable would be as loud as his or more so..   >:(

The action is at the local level; if your ROI balances as a minimum at your unit, stick with it because you **are** making a difference.
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Robert Hartigan
Forum Regular

Posts: 180
Unit: each

« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 11:34:39 AM »

Don't renew! I still had time left on my membership and opted to retire instead of letting my membership year run out. I have a nice certificate, which by the way I had to call National HQ to get it, and some fond memories of great people and experiences albeit colored with a lot of poor leadership and poorer management over 31 years of membership.

Unfortunately, I experienced all of the above negative attributes described by CAPDCCMOM and to a exponential power because I was a squadron commmander; I filtered a lot of WGHQ BS from my people so they had a better membership experience. There is a major disconnect between the national level goals/objectives and what happens at the local level. I have said it before, I believe you could get rid of Wings/Groups, focus on the local level and achieve more with even less than the less there is now.

As for the airplanes, those are pseudo flying clubs or worse fiefdoms of corruption; you don't need a type rating to fly a 182, but if you are not in the custodial unit they make the Form 5/91 more arduous and cumbersome than a type rating. Forget orientation rides, it is easier to take Cadets to a EAA Young Eagles event than get them in a CAP airplane.

If there were more people like Eclipse in CAP I would have stayed and wadded through the quagmire of queep and toxic leadership. Don't renew! Don't waste your time, talent and, treasure anymore. It doesn't get better, it only sucks a little less sometimes.
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<><><>#996
 GRW   #2717
THRAWN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,788

« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 11:53:41 AM »

Don't renew! I still had time left on my membership and opted to retire instead of letting my membership year run out. I have a nice certificate, which by the way I had to call National HQ to get it, and some fond memories of great people and experiences albeit colored with a lot of poor leadership and poorer management over 31 years of membership.

Unfortunately, I experienced all of the above negative attributes described by CAPDCCMOM and to a exponential power because I was a squadron commmander; I filtered a lot of WGHQ BS from my people so they had a better membership experience. There is a major disconnect between the national level goals/objectives and what happens at the local level. I have said it before, I believe you could get rid of Wings/Groups, focus on the local level and achieve more with even less than the less there is now.

As for the airplanes, those are pseudo flying clubs or worse fiefdoms of corruption; you don't need a type rating to fly a 182, but if you are not in the custodial unit they make the Form 5/91 more arduous and cumbersome than a type rating. Forget orientation rides, it is easier to take Cadets to a EAA Young Eagles event than get them in a CAP airplane.

If there were more people like Eclipse in CAP I would have stayed and wadded through the quagmire of queep and toxic leadership. Don't renew! Don't waste your time, talent and, treasure anymore. It doesn't get better, it only sucks a little less sometimes.

Nonconcur.

CAPDCCMOM, it's very obvious that you are passionate about cadets and the program. Don't toss that away because of a few bad experiences. I commanded at the squadron and group levels and held staff slots at the wing level. Looking back over the years since 1994, the best times I had were at the squadron level, interacting with cadets and helping them become the incredible adults that they are today. Many have gone on to careers in public service, but all are solid citizens and we keep in contact often. You are having a bigger impact than you realize. Don't allow a couple of insignificant wannabes stand in the way of doing something that you love. Renew. Then take a break. Take off for 2 or 3 weeks. Go to the beach. Catch up on The Goldbergs. Recharge your batteries. Then when you go back, be the mentor and leader that you obviously are.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
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Brit_in_CAP
Seasoned Member

Posts: 349
Unit: MER-VA-002

« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 12:32:21 PM »


CAPDCCMOM, it's very obvious that you are passionate about cadets and the program. Don't toss that away because of a few bad experiences. I commanded at the squadron and group levels and held staff slots at the wing level. Looking back over the years since 1994, the best times I had were at the squadron level, interacting with cadets and helping them become the incredible adults that they are today. Many have gone on to careers in public service, but all are solid citizens and we keep in contact often. You are having a bigger impact than you realize. Don't allow a couple of insignificant wannabes stand in the way of doing something that you love. Renew. Then take a break. Take off for 2 or 3 weeks. Go to the beach. Catch up on The Goldbergs. Recharge your batteries. Then when you go back, be the mentor and leader that you obviously are.

+1 on taking a break.  I did, and it was very helpful.  Definitely recommend The Goldbergs...  ;)

Seriously, perspective is important.  I relinquished CDC when I had to work out of town for 3 months, and came back gradually, not as the CDC.  I put my efforts into the CDI track and program, let the new CDC drive on as they needed to.  Ironically, she's hit a wall aaaaand.....I'm back, apparently... ::)

I agree with Thrawn, the best times are at the squadron level and the investment in the cadets is what makes it worthwhile.  You - we - make more impact than we realize and, curiously, the cadets add at least as much to our lives as we add to theirs, and often more.   

You can only do what you can do, and as long as you do that to the best of your ability then you are doing no one a disservice. 

Don't let the back row guys put you off - you know them, sit at the back, talk incessantly in meetings but just below audibility and have an opinion on everything but do nothing 'cos nothing will change.

Robert's opinion and experience is both valid and common, sadly, but it needn't be yours.
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CAPDCCMOM
Seasoned Member

Posts: 244

« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 12:41:58 PM »

THRAWN and Brit, and Eclipse and everyone else. Thank you. You all are the the kinds of people that are the reason I love CAP. As for the rest, can we dress 'em like a pinata and beat 'em with a stick. You guys have made me feel much better, and have made a tough decision that much tougher. Guess I will go binge watch the Crown, and Downton Abbey, and come back swingin' I hope. And hopefully with the best decision made, both for me and for the Cadets that are like sons and daughters to me.

Cheers to you all.
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FW
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,122

« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 01:17:35 PM »

Binge watching TV is definitely helpful...   CAPDCCMOM, I truly understand (and most of us also) what your going thru.  If I had a dollar for every idiot member who told me similar "stuff", I'd be retired, and flying my Mooney around the world.... LOL.  If I actually paid attention to the drivel, I'd not have had the many opportunities that came my way over the past "few" years.  Membership is what you make of it.  Enjoy what you do, and don't pay much attention to the whiners and complainers. They are a distraction. 
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Chappie
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,041

« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 03:30:12 PM »

CAPDCCMOM....there were two occasions over the past 20 years where I seriously considered not renewing...won't go into the particulars but they were significant.   But the items that kept me from bailing were: 1) the basic reasons I joined had not changed - that of providing service to the members of the organization...especially the cadets...and my community/country, and; 2) the relationships that I had built within the organization.  I have found that CAP is a dynamic organization and not a static display....things change in time, people (commanders/leaders, in particular) change...it may be slow, but in time things do get better.  There have been a couple of occasions where I "flew under the radar"...basically decided to do the things in CAP that would be fun, fulfilling and say "no" to things that others could/should do if they were presented the opportunity.  There is more than enough activities/events/positions to go around that someone else could benefit from.   Keep in mind that CAP is a VOLUNTEER organization...you can volunteer to do something (an by all means, honor that commitment) or not volunteer to do something.
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Disclaimer:  Not to be confused with the other user that goes by "Chappy"   :)
kwe1009
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 659

« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 04:39:23 PM »

Not renewing is something I have struggled with and I have only been in CAP just over 4 years.  I joined because I wanted to help mentor cadets and not for any other reason.  I don't care about rank or ribbons.  The Air Force has supplied me nicely with both. 

I quickly grew tired of the GOB/G system and the "this is how we have always done it" crowd.  I had four options in my mind.  I could accept it and conform (not my style and not what is best for the cadets).  I could quit (again, not my style and it certainly wouldn't help the cadets).  I could fight the status quo and raise a stink whenever I saw something I didn't like (that would go nowhere fast).  I could work to affect change slowly. 

I chose the last option and I can happily say that things have gotten better on the past four years.  It has not been easy and it required me to take on leadership positions that took me away from dealing exclusively with cadets.  While that is a negative to me, the amount of equality and fairness that I have been able to help usher in far outweighs that negative.

So, you can leave and the system continues on or you can stay and help to make things better.  There really isn't a right or wrong answer here as staying and trying to make things better for everyone takes time that some people just don't have.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2016, 04:46:12 PM »

I chose the last option and I can happily say that things have gotten better on the past four years.  It has not been easy and it required me to take on leadership positions that took me away from dealing exclusively with...

I can't tell you how many times I've seen or head this.  It doesn't matter the how or what, only the result.

Far too many members join to do "x", only to find that "x" isn't happening due to artificial limitations, inertia, of the GOB.
The only way to get to "x" is to move into an area of influence which takes the member away from the thing they wanted to do.

A year later they are mired in an SUI argument over the margins on letterhead while they watch their members get to partake in the
opportunities that they made possible by their "sacrifice".  Then at some point it's just too much hassle, they leave, and the
fissure closes back up around the remaining members as the obstacles reassert themselves.

Rinse, Repeat on a 1-3 year cycle you can just about set a watch to.
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"Effort" does not equal "results".
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.

kwe1009
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 659

« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2016, 04:59:30 PM »

I chose the last option and I can happily say that things have gotten better on the past four years.  It has not been easy and it required me to take on leadership positions that took me away from dealing exclusively with...

I can't tell you how many times I've seen or head this.  It doesn't matter the how or what, only the result.

Far too many members join to do "x", only to find that "x" isn't happening due to artificial limitations, inertia, of the GOB.
The only way to get to "x" is to move into an area of influence which takes the member away from the thing they wanted to do.

A year later they are mired in an SUI argument over the margins on letterhead while they watch their members get to partake in the
opportunities that they made possible by their "sacrifice".  Then at some point it's just too much hassle, they leave, and the
fissure closes back up around the remaining members as the obstacles reassert themselves.

Rinse, Repeat on a 1-3 year cycle you can just about set a watch to.

True but that cycle can be broken if enough people with integrity step up to be leaders and they also mentor those around them properly.  This isn't just a CAP problem, it exists in some form in every organization.
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Robert Hartigan
Forum Regular

Posts: 180
Unit: each

« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 12:05:07 AM »

This seems a tad naive for a solution to the woes of CAP. When you have a bacterial infection you don't add more good tissue, you fight the infection with an antibiotic thereby killing off the bacteria.

If you really want to attract and retain people with integrity increase the barriers to entry. Then establish a standard of conduct that does not diminish any volunteers contribution and if a leader or an agent of that leader violates the standard dismiss the offender and the leader with prejudice because until the chain of command is held to a higher standard of conduct and no longer protected by the GOBN things will not change.

A nice start would be, if a member prevails on appeal of an adverse membership action then the chain of command is terminated from CAP to make sure the true offender of the standards is punished. When a provision like that is in place then you can talk about people of integrity stepping up. Until then, they will be ground into 2Bs for being squeaky wheels and troublemakers according to the GOBN.

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<><><>#996
 GRW   #2717
capsafety
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,251

« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 10:27:36 AM »

CAPDCCMOM - I wrestle with the same dilemma each year. May of 2017 is six months away but I have already thought about my future in CAP. My son is a C/CMSgt and hopes to make C/2Lt before then. Our agreement was that he stay in until he made Mitchell and them we would talk about participation. He also serves in NJROTC as a C/Ensign and wants to concentrate on that. If he does, then my intent and purpose for staying in has largely been complete. I have been in 16 years. That thought may change between now and then.

It has become more of a challenge to convince my wife to take a week of vacation time for a CAP activity when I only get three weeks each year.

I have served at all levels of CAP and have had the chance to serve with fantastic people but my focus has personally and professionally changed since joining.

I advised my command last year that I would be taking a step back about 95% to complete my Master's. I completed my assigned duties and that was it. No more no less but status quo. Scary part was I liked the freedom to get the work done and now that I am done with school and soon to be changing CAP assignments, I am not sure how it is going to work out.

I will tell you the same thing I was recently told by a fellow CAP member and former SER Commander. "Look at the reason you originally joined and see if that feeling is still there. If it is, latch onto that feeling and stick with it".

Maybe you CAPDCCMOM will be giving me the same advice in 6 months.

If CAP needs one thing it is to keep good members.
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James L. Shaw Jr.
Lt Col., CAP
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 838

« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2016, 05:50:20 AM »

I think an important aspect is missed here in people's decisions to stay or leave CAP. We all know why people leave; that's pretty much a given. It's not for them, or they don't like a lot of the culture throughout CAP that doesn't reflect on what they think "should be" the norm.

Anyway, CAP is a mission. It's not just an activity or a hobby. It's a part of a much bigger profession with a purpose of serving an objective. It differs from just being a youth program or a club, even though many people treat it as such. For me, there's a certain service aspect that comes with what I do that I just love to be a part of. It's stressful, and I'd love to quit and go back to not getting 4 hours sleep before work and having 3 hours of fun-filled CrAP after. But that's what I stick around for; it's not just fun, it's an accomplishment in our efforts.

So, I think if you can find what it is that you do for CAP, not what CAP does for you, you may see a different perspective on it. That's just me, though. I can't speak for everyone else here. I just know that I'd rather burn myself being a part of a greater effort, despite how often I may feel like it's futile, than sitting around doing nothing while I could be here doing my job. Then again, I always joke that I'm a lifer who will probably get fired before I hit my 5-year mark.

Mission first.
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