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DadOscarMike
Newbie

Posts: 1

« on: March 27, 2017, 05:11:35 PM »

I was a cadet in CAP about 15 years ago, now that I have kids that are of the age to join, my wife and I decided to take them to a meeting at our local squadron.  What a shock!  This cadet squadron is nothing like the squadron I was part of as a cadet.  Practically the entire meeting consisted of the Squadron Commander talking about various things (very few of which pertained to the cadets) with the cadets and a couple of senior members sitting there board out of their mind.  There was no opening or closing formations, no Leadership, Aerospace, or any such class, no cadet-run meeting or activity and no drill.
 
While all of this was disappointing, what was more distressing was to see senior members, including the Squadron Commander, wearing the AF uniform when they clearly did not meet the height/weight standards.  Has something changed in the last 15 years?  It would be embarrassing to be associated with a unit that so blatantly disrespects the uniform.  I casually mentioned the wearing of the AF uniform to one senior member after the meeting, and was told that “…we kinda do our own thing since we are so far away from HQ”.  Wow!
 
Needless to say, my kids weren’t impressed either.  I guess I over-sold the idea of Civil Air Patrol to them.

What to do?

   
Disappointed Dad
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THRAWN
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Posts: 1,767

« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 05:23:54 PM »

I was a cadet in CAP about 15 years ago, now that I have kids that are of the age to join, my wife and I decided to take them to a meeting at our local squadron.  What a shock!  This cadet squadron is nothing like the squadron I was part of as a cadet.  Practically the entire meeting consisted of the Squadron Commander talking about various things (very few of which pertained to the cadets) with the cadets and a couple of senior members sitting there board out of their mind.  There was no opening or closing formations, no Leadership, Aerospace, or any such class, no cadet-run meeting or activity and no drill.
 
While all of this was disappointing, what was more distressing was to see senior members, including the Squadron Commander, wearing the AF uniform when they clearly did not meet the height/weight standards.  Has something changed in the last 15 years?  It would be embarrassing to be associated with a unit that so blatantly disrespects the uniform.  I casually mentioned the wearing of the AF uniform to one senior member after the meeting, and was told that “…we kinda do our own thing since we are so far away from HQ”.  Wow!
 
Needless to say, my kids weren’t impressed either.  I guess I over-sold the idea of Civil Air Patrol to them.

What to do?

   
Disappointed Dad

Run. Find another squadron. You're going to end up getting stressed out over it and your family along with you.
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Strup
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Eclipse
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 05:35:10 PM »

Has something changed in the last 15 years?

Yes - you and your lenses.  MUCH has changed in the last 15 years, but the majority is incremental or ultimately
trivial in regards to the totality of CAP's programs.  15 years ago there were squadrons that hit all cylinders, some
struggling to keep the doors open, and most somewhere in between.

Other then significant shrinkage of both the membership as a whole, as well as the number of charters, not much has
changed that radically during the period cited.  If you were that shocked, you should consider yourself lucky that
you were a member at one of the higher-functioning units in your wing.

Has something changed in the last 15 years?
Run. Find another squadron. You're going to end up getting stressed out over it and your family along with you.

+1*

*Assuming this was a "typical" meeting night and not one where key players or numbers were missing, etc.
If you visited my unit on a PT night, or the occasional off night where we have a number of key players missing
for legit reasons, we might not be in our Sunday best, or have the most coherent agenda, however with that said,
you can usually get a pretty good idea if that's the case or not - that comment about "doing our own thing"
would be a huge red flag for me if I were in your shoes.

Hopefully there are other units close enough to consider, and if you want to "spread the love" on this,
you might consider a note to the Wing CC with your first impressions, who knows, things might change
(or you could wind up wearing a CC badge).
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County
Recruit

Posts: 9

« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 02:44:21 PM »

I too talked CAP up to my son. Took him to the meeting and generally liked what I saw but noticed many areas for improvement. I joined along side him and took over the gig of Deputy Commander for Cadets. We are running quite smoothly and growing in Cadets for the first time in a number of years.

Sometimes to give your kids the best experience you have to provide that for them. Sometimes that means you have to be a part of the organization. Spoken from a former Cub Scout Den leader and Cubmaster, Assistant Soccer coach and now DCC. Good luck to you and your family moving forward.

 
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TSgt
Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 03:33:53 PM »

Former cadets coming back into the fold, even 10-20 years out can be beneficial. Many units don't even have a former cadet / knowledgeable SM, so getting one who is out of date, but willing to get caught up is a major plus.
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etodd
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Posts: 662

« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 06:39:35 PM »

We always encourage folks to visit at least for a month. It never fails that visitors show up on either PT day and get to see folks running the mile and doing pushups, or they come on drill day and all they see is marching.  Or one of those organizational business meeting type days, where yes, its mostly the CC talking over things. LOL

If I see a visitor coming in on one of those days, I try to get to them quickly and talk about our monthly schedule and how every meeting is different and some days are more fun (Aerospace) than others, so please visit several times.
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 05:06:02 PM »

I think the squadron you described is all too common these days. I'm not sure what the percentages are as to how many squadrons operate that way, but it seems like it's fairly regular.

We always encourage folks to visit at least for a month. It never fails that visitors show up on either PT day and get to see folks running the mile and doing pushups, or they come on drill day and all they see is marching.  Or one of those organizational business meeting type days, where yes, its mostly the CC talking over things. LOL

If I see a visitor coming in on one of those days, I try to get to them quickly and talk about our monthly schedule and how every meeting is different and some days are more fun (Aerospace) than others, so please visit several times.

They come on a PT day, and they have to stand there and watch PT and not participate. They come on a drill day, and it's boring.

Guess what: cadets already in CAP feel exactly the same. If cadets spend 2 hours doing drill, they're bored. If a visitor watches 2 hours of drill, they're bored. It goes hand-in-hand.

If you have to explain to a visitor, "I swear, not every meeting is like this," you're doing something wrong, because you subjected your current members to a "meeting like this."

I think people fail to remember that membership has two components: Recruiting AND Retention. Okay, you got them in the door. Now, how are you going to get them to stay?
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Eclipse
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2017, 05:20:14 PM »

They come on a PT day, and they have to stand there and watch PT and not participate. They come on a drill day, and it's boring.

Guess what: cadets already in CAP feel exactly the same. If cadets spend 2 hours doing drill, they're bored. If a visitor watches 2 hours of drill, they're bored. It goes hand-in-hand.

If you have to explain to a visitor, "I swear, not every meeting is like this," you're doing something wrong, because you subjected your current members to a "meeting like this."

I think people fail to remember that membership has two components: Recruiting AND Retention. Okay, you got them in the door. Now, how are you going to get them to stay?

Excellent points - last night we had three cadets who showed up as visitors last minute, two were friends of cadets who were also very new.

After announcements, a short video on rocketry, and one promotion, they went outside and did some general drill (guests as well), then our senior NCO held a uniform inspection
(which admittedly took too long) while our Flight CC took his Earhart online test.

The cadets broke up into two groups, one participating in a LAG, the others making up an element for a practical drill test, then the evening concluded with CDI, followed by
any number of ad hoc conversations about a number of things as members needed (we get shooed right at 2100 by the airport).

Sounds like too much drill, but it was a lot of moving pieces and spirit with a lot accomplished for several cadets.

Seniors meanwhile held a Finance meeting and prepped the docs for a few things (while also whining about discussing whatever was handy as always).

It always amazes me how short the meetings are and how much we can get done, even though it's never enough time for everything we'd like to do.

The last few meetings have had a lot of energy, which to me is infectious and would serve us well for guests, regardless of what we're actually doing.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 05:23:16 PM by Eclipse » Logged

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zippity
Recruit

Posts: 13
Unit: Metric

« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 10:12:42 AM »

We always encourage folks to visit at least for a month. It never fails that visitors show up on either PT day and get to see folks running the mile and doing pushups, or they come on drill day and all they see is marching.  Or one of those organizational business meeting type days, where yes, its mostly the CC talking over things. LOL

If I see a visitor coming in on one of those days, I try to get to them quickly and talk about our monthly schedule and how every meeting is different and some days are more fun (Aerospace) than others, so please visit several times.

Our last senior-level visitors showed up for our annual safety stand-down meeting, so they got to practice a fire drill with us in the rain. D'oh!
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 10:36:42 AM »

They come on a PT day, and they have to stand there and watch PT and not participate. They come on a drill day, and it's boring.

Guess what: cadets already in CAP feel exactly the same. If cadets spend 2 hours doing drill, they're bored. If a visitor watches 2 hours of drill, they're bored. It goes hand-in-hand.

If you have to explain to a visitor, "I swear, not every meeting is like this," you're doing something wrong, because you subjected your current members to a "meeting like this."

I think people fail to remember that membership has two components: Recruiting AND Retention. Okay, you got them in the door. Now, how are you going to get them to stay?

Excellent points - last night we had three cadets who showed up as visitors last minute, two were friends of cadets who were also very new.

After announcements, a short video on rocketry, and one promotion, they went outside and did some general drill (guests as well), then our senior NCO held a uniform inspection
(which admittedly took too long) while our Flight CC took his Earhart online test.

The cadets broke up into two groups, one participating in a LAG, the others making up an element for a practical drill test, then the evening concluded with CDI, followed by
any number of ad hoc conversations about a number of things as members needed (we get shooed right at 2100 by the airport).

Sounds like too much drill, but it was a lot of moving pieces and spirit with a lot accomplished for several cadets.

Seniors meanwhile held a Finance meeting and prepped the docs for a few things (while also whining about discussing whatever was handy as always).

It always amazes me how short the meetings are and how much we can get done, even though it's never enough time for everything we'd like to do.

The last few meetings have had a lot of energy, which to me is infectious and would serve us well for guests, regardless of what we're actually doing.

I think you can really cram in a lot, and not just stuff that makes time goes by that they learn and forget, but actual quality instruction that can carry over. The hard part is trying to fit it all in so that it isn't boring.

I make it an effort to ensure that for every class in the classroom, we get a chance to get hands on outside, if possible. 2.5 hour meeting (take off 30 minutes, give or take for opening, closing, and a break in the middle); if it's an hour of Character Development, they should have an hour of whatever else means "get your butts outside and go get dirty."

Think of it like school:
Kids sit in classes from 0730-1500. In one class, the teacher puts on a video (movie version of the book, whatever it is). To the students, that's like break time away from "class." CAP is similar, but in reverse. They go to school all day, all week. They come to CAP. Turn the video off and get outside.

We're meant to teach responsibility. This should not come at the cost of them still being teenagers.
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foo
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2017, 01:19:12 PM »

We always encourage folks to visit at least most for a month. It never fails that visitors show up on either PT day and get to see folks running the mile and doing pushups, or they come on drill day and all they see is marching.  Or one of those organizational business meeting type days, where yes, its mostly the CC talking over things. LOL

If I see a visitor coming in on one of those days, I try to get to them quickly and talk about our monthly schedule and how every meeting is different and some days are more fun (Aerospace) than others, so please visit several times.

I like what you said, with just a minor quibble with your first statement. If your unit cares about following regulations (and I realize many don't so much):

Quote from: CAPR 39-2 Civil Air Patrol Membership
2.2.8. Prospective cadets visiting a traditional unit must participate in a trial period by attending three squadron meetings before requesting membership. Unit commanders will not approve membership applications (online or in paper form) until the prospective cadet has attended his or her third squadron meeting. Commanders of school-sponsored units possessing an 800-series charter number will set a trial period appropriate for that school unit’s program environment, in coordination with the school principal. Prospective cadets may not explore CAP without joining for longer than 30 days.

In other words, they must complete their three visits within one month, not "at least" one month.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 01:45:00 PM »

Quote from: CAPR 39-2 Civil Air Patrol Membership
2.2.8. Prospective cadets visiting a traditional unit must participate in a trial period by attending three squadron meetings before requesting membership. Unit commanders will not approve membership applications (online or in paper form) until the prospective cadet has attended his or her third squadron meeting. Commanders of school-sponsored units possessing an 800-series charter number will set a trial period appropriate for that school unit’s program environment, in coordination with the school principal. Prospective cadets may not explore CAP without joining for longer than 30 days.

In other words, they must complete their three visits within one month, not "at least" one month.

I don't think that is what it says, or at least that's not the intention.

There are any number of reasons why a prospective cadet may not be able to attend three concurrent consecutive
curse you SARDRAGON! meetings, many outside the recruit's control - a last-minute cancellation, some
pre-planned activity that a non-member cannot attend like a SAREx, encampment, or similar, or even the occasional "I have band that night"
situation as would be afforded to a member.

The above is intended to prevent situations as we have seen in the relatively recent past here on CT and elsewhere
where a cadet is inexplicably allowed to participate without joining for months or even in an apparent extreme case, for years.

I can't begin to imagine that the above was intended to require 3 concurrent meetings, nor that missing a meeting on
day 30 outside a cadet's control resets the clock on joining.
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TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 836

« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 01:54:17 PM »

For clarity sake, I think we need to distinguish between "cadet" (someone who's application has been accepted by the Commander and sent on to higher HQ for processing), and a "prospective cadet/recruit" (someone who is "exploring" Civil Air Patrol and has not yet submitted an application or the application has not yet been accepted by the Commander for approval).

A prospect who shows up in Week 2 and Week 3, but cannot attend Week 4 or Week 1 of the next month should be able to come back in Week 2 of that month. But you really need to watch them lingering.

We had a case where this gentleman would drop his grandchildren off to "explore CAP" and wander off. Irresponsibility aside, they aren't members. They were showing up A LOT. We explained to them that when whoever showed up to pick them up, have them come in and chat with us. Mom: "Yeah, grandpa does that." Ugh.

I've seen before where a unit permitted prospects to show up and "hang out" for nearly two months before they actually submitted applications. The Commander said it was fine, and so it shall be, right? "They aren't comfortable committing yet, and we don't want to scare them away."

We are not an activity club nor a babysitting group. If you want to join, or you want your son/daughter to join, fill out the application, pay the fee, and get on the roster.

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NIN
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2017, 02:09:10 PM »

We are not an activity club nor a babysitting group. If you want to join, or you want your son/daughter to join, fill out the application, pay the fee, and get on the roster.

"here is our membership timeline for joining this cycle..."

Not that we do corhort recruiting or anything.
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2017, 02:20:30 PM »

We are not an activity club nor a babysitting group. If you want to join, or you want your son/daughter to join, fill out the application, pay the fee, and get on the roster.

"here is our membership timeline for joining this cycle..."

Not that we do corhort recruiting or anything.

 :clap: *bows to the master*

I still pass out your resources from time to time to keep everyone fresh on the cohort process.

I'm a stickler for "have a plan; give me a timeline." Do you know when your next group begins? No? Why not? Oh, in two months. Guess what: you missed the deadline for having it planned out.

And do not be afraid to tell someone "This might not be the program for you..."
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2017, 03:24:00 PM »

We are not an activity club nor a babysitting group. If you want to join, or you want your son/daughter to join, fill out the application, pay the fee, and get on the roster.

"here is our membership timeline for joining this cycle..."

Not that we do corhort recruiting or anything.

Yeah, I was going to say, cohort is great for this. We just ran a cohort of 8 plus a returnee and getting them started from week 1 really helped keep their interest.

Our open house is this weekend with our next cohort starting Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing what some of my members' time recruiting in local schools has yielded.
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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.
NIN
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2017, 03:42:15 PM »

Yeah, I was going to say, cohort is great for this. We just ran a cohort of 8 plus a returnee and getting them started from week 1 really helped keep their interest.

Our open house is this weekend with our next cohort starting Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing what some of my members' time recruiting in local schools has yielded.

My next trick is to figure out how to run overlapping cohorts that don't kill you on the admin time.. Like "could we start 10 cohorts a year?"

"The next training cycle starts April 6th. Since this is March 15th, you have enough time to visit 3 meetings, get a membership packet, turn it in and now its time for training.."

:)

the system we have works. Its now time to figure out how to scale it.

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2017, 03:45:12 PM »

Yeah, I was going to say, cohort is great for this. We just ran a cohort of 8 plus a returnee and getting them started from week 1 really helped keep their interest.

Our open house is this weekend with our next cohort starting Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing what some of my members' time recruiting in local schools has yielded.

My next trick is to figure out how to run overlapping cohorts that don't kill you on the admin time.. Like "could we start 10 cohorts a year?"

"The next training cycle starts April 6th. Since this is March 15th, you have enough time to visit 3 meetings, get a membership packet, turn it in and now its time for training.."

:)

the system we have works. Its now time to figure out how to scale it.

I was about ready to pull the trigger on an overlapping cohort in September and October 2017 but I was talked out of it due to logistics issues. So we're at 3 cohorts this year - February, April, and September.

Once the machine gets fully cranked up and we solve some uniform and cadet staffing problems, we probably could do September and October, but this year is problematic.
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"Anyone can hold the helm when the seas are calm ... leadership is about weathering the storm."

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.
Eclipse
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2017, 03:49:36 PM »

Three sounds it would take more staff then most units could manage considering it's
going to be in addition to normal operations.

I'd be happy with one at this point, but scheduling a cohort without a good plan for filling it
doesn't mean much.  The latter is our issue.
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NIN
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2017, 03:59:15 PM »

There are some obvious staffing issues, but once we streamline the front end of this to a more manageable and standardized method, we don't need to do "dog & pony" events all the time.  Still do two big recruiting pushes, but have a "cohort in your pocket" so to speak for those people who you can then "fill"  a second cohort with 60 days later without doing all the hoo-ha-ha presentation and such for...

My guys are on the cusp of unlocking this one, I'm pretty sure.  We're nailing down the front end ("advertising," "showing," "filling," "inprocessing") so that you can then crank thru the training with ease and repeatability. Thats the key. When "new cadet training" looks like something you have to re-invent every time, its a long tough up hill slog.  When its something you can repeat over and over without killing yourself, you're like the Henry Ford of cadet training.

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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Toad1168
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2017, 10:54:43 AM »

There are some obvious staffing issues, but once we streamline the front end of this to a more manageable and standardized method, we don't need to do "dog & pony" events all the time.  Still do two big recruiting pushes, but have a "cohort in your pocket" so to speak for those people who you can then "fill"  a second cohort with 60 days later without doing all the hoo-ha-ha presentation and such for...

My guys are on the cusp of unlocking this one, I'm pretty sure.  We're nailing down the front end ("advertising," "showing," "filling," "inprocessing") so that you can then crank thru the training with ease and repeatability. Thats the key. When "new cadet training" looks like something you have to re-invent every time, its a long tough up hill slog.  When its something you can repeat over and over without killing yourself, you're like the Henry Ford of cadet training.

NIN, when you nail this down, can you post an outline?  I'd love to put this in place in my unit.
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etodd
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« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2017, 10:58:27 PM »

Good info in this thread.  For archives sake maybe an Admin can move it to something other than the "Uniform" forum.  "Membership" or one of the Cadet forums.
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foo
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Posts: 136

« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2017, 10:14:21 AM »

Quote from: CAPR 39-2 Civil Air Patrol Membership
2.2.8. Prospective cadets visiting a traditional unit must participate in a trial period by attending three squadron meetings before requesting membership. Unit commanders will not approve membership applications (online or in paper form) until the prospective cadet has attended his or her third squadron meeting. Commanders of school-sponsored units possessing an 800-series charter number will set a trial period appropriate for that school unit’s program environment, in coordination with the school principal. Prospective cadets may not explore CAP without joining for longer than 30 days.

In other words, they must complete their three visits within one month, not "at least" one month.

I don't think that is what it says, or at least that's not the intention.

There are any number of reasons why a prospective cadet may not be able to attend three concurrent consecutive
curse you SARDRAGON! meetings, many outside the recruit's control - a last-minute cancellation, some
pre-planned activity that a non-member cannot attend like a SAREx, encampment, or similar, or even the occasional "I have band that night"
situation as would be afforded to a member.

The above is intended to prevent situations as we have seen in the relatively recent past here on CT and elsewhere
where a cadet is inexplicably allowed to participate without joining for months or even in an apparent extreme case, for years.

I can't begin to imagine that the above was intended to require 3 concurrent meetings, nor that missing a meeting on
day 30 outside a cadet's control resets the clock on joining.

No one said the visits had to be "concurrent" or consecutive.

And there's no need to read into the regulation's intent as its language is straight-forward. It's called a trial period, meaning it has a beginning and an end, right? The trial period is 30 days. In nearly all cases four meetings would occur during that time, so it's completely reasonable. They could even attend four meetings during the trial period.

It doesn't make sense to wait for the extreme situations to which you referred to make visitors aware of, and to enforce, this requirement. Just set the expectation at the beginning; if they know what's expected, they will always comply if they truly want to participate in this program. Of course reasonable exceptions will be made, but the need for that should be rare.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2017, 10:22:26 AM »

So that's it?  3 meetings in 30 days and get out of the pool?
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foo
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Posts: 136

« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2017, 12:10:44 PM »

So that's it?  3 meetings in 30 days and get out of the pool?

Three or four, yes. If they can't or are otherwise unwilling to make it a priority, invite them to come back again down the road when they're able participate in the trial period in earnest. Again, if you make it clear up front how it works, it is almost never going to be an issue.

IIRC, you like to talk here about expectations and hard conversations, and I tend to agree. Why would this be any different?
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Eclipse
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2017, 01:24:30 PM »


IIRC, you like to talk here about expectations and hard conversations, and I tend to agree. Why would this be any different?

It's not, I do, and I agree, but when you start trying to hold potential cadets to a standard we don't hold actual cadets to 
it's going to cause recruiting issues and misunderstandings.

And when you start acting under hard-fast "3 and out", too many CCs will use that as either an excuse or a justification vs common sense.
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foo
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2017, 01:52:49 PM »


IIRC, you like to talk here about expectations and hard conversations, and I tend to agree. Why would this be any different?

It's not, I do, and I agree, but when you start trying to hold potential cadets to a standard we don't hold actual cadets to 
it's going to cause recruiting issues and misunderstandings.

And when you start acting under hard-fast "3 and out", too many CCs will use that as either an excuse or a justification vs common sense.

I totally agree -- the regulations and program guidelines have to be followed consistently and everywhere. But when they're not, the problem isn't the regulations, it's the leadership.

I'm no expert on recruiting, but there are reasons we require potential cadets to visit and observe the program for a while before deciding to join. I've seen more than a few cadets who join just for the flying. Then they fall off because they think, e.g., "the leadership stuff is boring" so they don't come back. Was our program a good fit for those kids in the first place?

If you set expectations early, you'll tend to recruit only cadets who want to fully participate, and IMO that practice will go a long way towards solving the other side of the R&R equation: retention.
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etodd
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2017, 09:23:27 PM »


... I've seen more than a few cadets who join just for the flying. Then they fall off because they think, e.g., "the leadership stuff is boring" so they don't come back.

And a kid who starts at 12 only gets 'promised' 5 front seat rides over a 6 year period.  Flying needs to be number 20 on the list of things mentioned to a Cadet prospect until we can ever get to the point all Cadets fly at least twice a year and hopefully more than that.
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2017, 10:57:59 AM »

My next trick is to figure out how to run overlapping cohorts that don't kill you on the admin time.. Like "could we start 10 cohorts a year?"

"The next training cycle starts April 6th. Since this is March 15th, you have enough time to visit 3 meetings, get a membership packet, turn it in and now its time for training.."

:)

the system we have works. Its now time to figure out how to scale it.


Our current class started 16 Feb and runs until 04 May. We're planning on starting a June class. Unfortunately, I have yet to have the other high-ups commit and agree to the training dates. I'm starting to feel my stress level elevate because of it. We've already told prospective recruits that we're having a June class, and I still don't have a start date. My gut is now telling me "Forget it. Just go with the September class, as planned." There is absolutely no way I could overlap the two, and probably never will, but I've seen the benefits of doing that in training programs and greatly appreciate the output.

I want 2017 to be the year that "we fix everything" from the "old days" and really build up our new program so that by 2018, we're running a systemic program that functions as intended. A little hard to do with the...I don't want to say complacency or laziness, but I'll leave that hanging there.


... I've seen more than a few cadets who join just for the flying. Then they fall off because they think, e.g., "the leadership stuff is boring" so they don't come back.

And a kid who starts at 12 only gets 'promised' 5 front seat rides over a 6 year period.  Flying needs to be number 20 on the list of things mentioned to a Cadet prospect until we can ever get to the point all Cadets fly at least twice a year and hopefully more than that.

This is absolutely huge.

In the last year, we've really shifted our recruiting program to emphasize what we actually do versus everything you can do and it makes all the difference in retention.

I don't like to do anything special for the visiting prospects. No special treatment, no special activity. Look, here's the program we run. Come to three meetings. Get a feel for it. If you don't like this, because this is the bulk of what we do, it's not for you. You don't need to understand everything that's going on; you'll learn it over time and get better. But if you start going "I just want to fly; I want to be a pilot," wrong organization. "I want to join the Marines after high school." Okay, we don't do all of that. Maybe some of it, but you need to understand that this isn't MCRD Parris Island and we aren't Force Recon.

It's still hard to not talk about that other stuff, though. "We had the opportunity to take a C-130 flight last October. We've done that for two years in a row. They're trying to set one up this year." Kid thinks, "Oh, boy! I get to fly in military planes!" I said once a year....that's 1 out of 365 days. And you need to earn that.

Uniforms. Haircuts. Physical training. Online testing. Drill testing. Lectures. Field training. Aerospace classes. This is the Cadet Program.

Encampment. Undergraduate Pilot Familiarization. Hawk Mountain. Honor Guard Academy. Orientation Flights. Military O-Flights. Search and Rescue training. These are the add-on opportunities that come either when we can schedule them or when you can attend/pay for them.
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foo
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2017, 12:37:07 PM »

Uniforms. Haircuts. Physical training. Online testing. Drill testing. Lectures. Field training. Aerospace classes. This is the Cadet Program.

I had a kid come to a few meetings and he seemed to love everything about it. During the last conversation I had with him and his mom, he asked me whether he'd have to get a haircut if he joined (he did have funky, long hair). We never saw him again after that.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2017, 04:17:56 PM »

Uniforms. Haircuts. Physical training. Online testing. Drill testing. Lectures. Field training. Aerospace classes. This is the Cadet Program.

I had a kid come to a few meetings and he seemed to love everything about it. During the last conversation I had with him and his mom, he asked me whether he'd have to get a haircut if he joined (he did have funky, long hair). We never saw him again after that.


We address this right off the bat. No reason to waste people's time

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Eclipse
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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2017, 05:24:11 PM »

Uniforms. Haircuts. Physical training. Online testing. Drill testing. Lectures. Field training. Aerospace classes. This is the Cadet Program.

I had a kid come to a few meetings and he seemed to love everything about it. During the last conversation I had with him and his mom, he asked me whether he'd have to get a haircut if he joined (he did have funky, long hair). We never saw him again after that.


We address this right off the bat. No reason to waste people's time

+1 - I don't know why this was left until the "last weekend" or that the prospective cadet had to "ask".

When people come in the door "non-standard", it's not the first thing we address, but it's not the last, either.
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etodd
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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2017, 09:31:46 PM »


I had a kid come to a few meetings and he seemed to love everything about it. During the last conversation I had with him and his mom, he asked me whether he'd have to get a haircut if he joined (he did have funky, long hair). We never saw him again after that.

OK ... I'll bite.

How do you distinguish between the thin guy with long hair ..... and the fat guy with a crew cut?

Why do you accept one and not the other?

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Eclipse
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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2017, 09:41:38 PM »

How do you distinguish between the thin guy with long hair ..... and the fat guy with a crew cut?

Because all cadets are required to comply with grooming, but there no weight standards under 18.
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EMT-83
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« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2017, 11:15:43 PM »


... I've seen more than a few cadets who join just for the flying. Then they fall off because they think, e.g., "the leadership stuff is boring" so they don't come back.

And a kid who starts at 12 only gets 'promised' 5 front seat rides over a 6 year period.  Flying needs to be number 20 on the list of things mentioned to a Cadet prospect until we can ever get to the point all Cadets fly at least twice a year and hopefully more than that.

Non-concur. We have airplanes: that's what makes us different than the Boy Scouts and the Leo Club.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2017, 12:05:25 AM »


... I've seen more than a few cadets who join just for the flying. Then they fall off because they think, e.g., "the leadership stuff is boring" so they don't come back.

And a kid who starts at 12 only gets 'promised' 5 front seat rides over a 6 year period.  Flying needs to be number 20 on the list of things mentioned to a Cadet prospect until we can ever get to the point all Cadets fly at least twice a year and hopefully more than that.

Non-concur. We have airplanes: that's what makes us different than the Boy Scouts and the Leo Club.

Cadets are not "promised" 5 rides, they are eligible for 10 (incl gliders), and can fly rear-seat any time they want.  Not to mention
flight academies that cost about 1/3rd what they should, extremely cheap encampments, and access to untold
opportunities their peers will never experience.

Instead of being disgruntled that it's "only" 5, recruiters should be excited it's "at least 5", and for those who
think it should be more, unit-funded o-rides are always an option.

Over the last couple of years, CAP has become quite the bargain for people who can take advantage of
the opportunities.

Membership for a cadet is $35.

After Curry, the member gets $100 back in a uniform voucher, this versus the "free" uniform
that many never saw because of USAF funding and related issues.  I have heard some say you can't buy
the blues for $100, but the other day one of my cadets said he got his full kit for only about $5 over the voucher.

My airport has a tour company that charges $75 - $150 a ride - that's $375

Glider rides in my area are $100-160 each, so let's say another $500

If you qualify for CEAP, that's $350 towards an activity and uniforms (I know of cadets who have received multi-year CEAP).

Encampments and flight schools also have scholarships for those in need or who work towards them.

So for $35, an active cadet who is willing to pursue things he's interested in gets a potential 25x return
on his investment, with a lot more in the chamber if they want it, and that's not including CEAP or
other monies available.

25x return ain't too shabby - if you want to make the argument a new cadet has to drop money on uniforms,
then maybe the return goes to "only" 5x's, still not bad.

I know of one cadet who has gotten Curry, 2 powered rides and CEAP twice, that's $1000 of value for $70.

We need to "sell" CAP as the value it is for those who are actually interested in what it offers.

My math is probably >way< off, so if it is, there you go, but you get the idea...


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foo
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« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2017, 09:51:47 AM »

Uniforms. Haircuts. Physical training. Online testing. Drill testing. Lectures. Field training. Aerospace classes. This is the Cadet Program.

I had a kid come to a few meetings and he seemed to love everything about it. During the last conversation I had with him and his mom, he asked me whether he'd have to get a haircut if he joined (he did have funky, long hair). We never saw him again after that.


We address this right off the bat. No reason to waste people's time

+1 - I don't know why this was left until the "last weekend" or that the prospective cadet had to "ask".

When people come in the door "non-standard", it's not the first thing we address, but it's not the last, either.

I don't think that's necessarily a good idea. A kid might feel differently about having to get a haircut after he's had a chance to get a good look at the program and weigh its benefits.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2017, 10:12:04 AM »

I don't think that's necessarily a good idea. A kid might feel differently about having to get a haircut after he's had a chance to get a good look at the program and weigh its benefits.

That's a fair point, though you do have to wonder about anyone who can see a whole group of people with
hair, etc., generally the same, and not pick up it's a "thing" - not to mention it's not like the military doesn't
feature prominently in media and video games.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2017, 11:36:55 AM »

I don't think that's necessarily a good idea. A kid might feel differently about having to get a haircut after he's had a chance to get a good look at the program and weigh its benefits.

That's a fair point, though you do have to wonder about anyone who can see a whole group of people with
hair, etc., generally the same, and not pick up it's a "thing" - not to mention it's not like the military doesn't
feature prominently in media and video games.


Video Games typically have SpecOps super soldiers with beards and Fabio hair...
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2017, 12:14:08 PM »

I'm 27. I don't have kids. I have never been a cadet. My SSgt (maybe I'm his 1st Lt) is 45. He has three kids, one of whom is a cadet. He's never been a cadet himself. Both of us have military training, albeit some differences here. I think our relationship works great as far as being able to bounce ideas off of one another with a true officer-NCO relationship. It works very well for us. So I lean on him a lot for his opinion on certain matters, and we're usually on the same page when it comes to disciplinary/compliance issues.

One point he made to me last week, after a newer recruit was horsing around a bit too much, and this is paraphrasing:
"You need to nip it immediately. It's like a puppy. If he steps out of his crate, you tell him to get back in the crate until he stops edging out of it. Otherwise, you'll let it slide, and they'll do it over and over because you're re-teaching the same thing time and again, not being able to teach anything else because they never got passed the first lesson."

So I said, "Here's a problem I have: I'm not a parent. One of my big issues will be not knowing how far to take it. Mom and dad might not like me chewing out Tiger because that's their precious. You know me; I can sit down with any cadet and address their performance and discuss improvements. But how much is too much when it comes to addressing, especially the younger ones---the 12 year olds---when it comes to the horseplay and disciplinary matters, especially when you know it's because they're still a kid and not them intentionally acting out?"

"It needs to be treated like a parent should treat it, just like a coach at practice. Settle down, act appropriately, and follow the rules, or get off the team. It's not negotiable. And if a parent comes up to me and says, 'Thanks. We think he needed to hear that from someone,' I'm going to respond to them with, 'Now maybe you can try that at home next time.' I'm not here to raise their kid for them."

So there is that battle between "It's supposed to be fun and educational" and "It's supposed to be educational and structured." It's something that I, personally, have yet to figure out the "sweet spot," if there is such a thing. Like our CDS always tells me, "You're getting parenting 101 here, and it's unfortunately with 30 people who don't belong to you and you have no actual right to discipline." That's a toughie.

One of my personal feelings has been, since close to the beginning of stepping into this role, that the age range between 12 and 18+ for cadets is very challenging. While you see personalities across the spectrum, and the differences between gender maturity levels, for the most part, I can work with the 15-18 year old range much easier than I can work with the 12-14 year old group. They can take the mature discussion and counseling.

It's not easy; that's for sure. To the person that figures it all out: please share ASAP.

Video Games typically have SpecOps super soldiers with beards and Fabio hair...

"You want to look like Fabio? Become a model, or enlist."
 
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Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2017, 12:16:03 PM »

Is not the purpose of the "three visits to the squadron" to take a "good look at the program and weigh its benefits?"

 ???
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2017, 12:20:39 PM »

Is not the purpose of the "three visits to the squadron" to take a "good look at the program and weigh its benefits?"

 ???

And to decide if it's "for" the member, whether cadet or senior.

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Eclipse
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« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2017, 12:50:13 PM »

I will say, as a CC and a parent, it's much easier to keeps things on track and straight, while occasionally
sneaking in some fun by accident, then the other way around.

Too much "fun and games",  and if / when you do try to reel things in, you'll get more push back
and some may quit (BTDT with CAP and Scouts)

On the mean, cadets come to CAP for the structure, they get "let your freak flag fly" the other 21.5x6".
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