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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Starting a new unit
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Author Topic: Starting a new unit  (Read 1621 times)
DakRadz
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,365

« on: May 27, 2016, 07:53:13 PM »

I will be contacting, seeking guidance and approval from, and working with appropriate local/wing leadership to pursue any of this. In fact, I know of a few in my state who are on CT. I'm not trying to circumvent proper channels.

I did try searching for this in a few different generic ways, didn't find much even for starting a flight/unit in general; might need better search terms- please let me know if I missed pertinent threads.

I've been out of see aye pea for long enough I will need to complete all of my trainings again, and even with whatever I receive as a former Earhart will still go through the actual coursework. I plan on rejoining, but I have a plan and a goal that I'm curious to see how some of the seasoned folks feel about my plan.


I want to start a unit in my local area. I understand I need to reacclimate to how things have changed, and will drive the 30-45 miles (depending on chosen unit) for a while to be in a unit and get back into the proper groove. I plan to put together a proposal prior to approaching Wing, stating why the area can support a new Flight, and then Squadron. I plan to work through as much PD as possible in order to start looking the part of a potential new CC.

What is a reasonable timeframe for a rejoining member? 6 months, one year? I know there are those who quickly have command thrust upon them, but maybe someone has insight into the mindset of approving or denying a new charter request.

I am positive I can drum up the interest for a unit in my area. I am sure I can build up a successful unit that truly comes from, serves, and thrives in the community. It wouldn't take me more than 6-12 months to be comfortable enough to begin the process- but I know perception is everything, and convincing others will have to take perception into account. A three year continuous service looks better than 9 months, etc. I don't want answers, just a direction. I'll find, make, and present my own answers. CAP- all three missions- was an extremely positive influence in my life when little else was.
I'm playing the long game here, but the goal is not command, or a uniform, or my personal enjoyment in the program. It's giving a unit to my area, which is in the middle of a several hundred square mile dearth where such volunteer organizations are concerned. If you aren't a Mason, a Lion, or whatever the Rotary Club folks are, it's scarce.


Not wanting to make this (any more) unnecessarily lengthy, are there generic points I should expect to meet, questions I can build up my case on? Is there more information that can be given to help you give advice?
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lordmonar
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,655

« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 08:06:35 PM »

Well....

1)  What sort of unit are you thinking of starting?  Senior?  Cadet?  Composite?

2)  Where is the nearest unit to your location?  How are they set for members?  Are there members in your local area already doing the long commute to this or other units?

Start small.  Get with the next nearest unit....get back into CAP and up to speed.  Go to the commander's course and/or TLC ASAP.
Recruit other people in your local area to do the same.

Once you got 10 or so people who have been in CAP for six month to a year......get with your squadron commander and Group/Wing and spin up a new unit as a FLIGHT to the parent unit.   This allows you to avoid a lot of the overhead admin stuff required of a squadron.   It allows you to build up by focusing on recruiting and training on a small scale.   

Once you are a flight for a year or two and build up a healthy membership.....then you can split off and be designated your own squadron.

Good luck. 
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
DakRadz
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,365

« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2016, 08:20:25 PM »

A composite squadron. I am in a city of 25k+, with schools, LE, farms, fields, camping/hiking/vacation summer spots within 20 miles- good future potential for all three missions. You can build from a cadet program in a Composite squadron, but to succeed and grow beyond "just another 20 person squadron" there needs to be other options for adults. While small squadrons can and do run exceedingly well, better to aim high and still land on success you can grow upon. I do plan to focus on where there is initially the most interest (likely cadet program), while being prepared to support or lead an expansion if, say, 5 teachers join and want to do a full bore AE system.

The two closest units are in another state- one 40, another 50 miles one way. I have interest from around 6 people thus far, and that's locals I've known for years (through CAP) who are in fact making the commute, and could bring another 4+ people with them as new members.

One of the units is in a "post-exodus" season, one is doing well.

6-12 months is my general idea. At that point, I will have total of 2 (interrupted) years as a SM, 4-5 years in CAP, and current everything-you-can-take-as-a-2d/1st Lt classes (Earhart)
I like the flight idea, but I feel that if the parent unit has to be in the same Wing, a strong case will need to be made since it isn't feasible currently to join within my own state. (60+ miles for most any in-state sqd).
« Last Edit: May 27, 2016, 11:45:04 PM by DakRadz » Logged
lordmonar
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,655

« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2016, 09:26:24 PM »

Yes....the parent unit should be in the same wing.

But that does not you can't make contacts with the nearest unit for assistance, mentor-ship, good ideas, etc.  Just because they are "THEM" does not mean you can't get some help.

I advise you also....to go slow, set realistic goals.....and to be ready to circle around for another approach if things get dicey.   No need to rush anything and end up with a bad foundation.

And also....ping your wing/group for assistance.   If you get a big recruiting drive going.....don't wait for the next SLS/UCC/TLC to roll around....ask if your wing PDO/CPO can do a special one in your area to get maximum effect.   

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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
Майор Хаткевич
200,000th Post Author
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,059
Unit: GLR-IL-049

« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2016, 03:24:26 AM »

Everyone is different, but I feel that after 5 active years as a cadet, it took me at least 3-4 as a SM to get the "picture" for a potential CC role. And when I say that, I mean I wouldn't die from fear if asked to do the job. UCC, if done right is good help. The commander guide pocket book is great as well. Most importantly? Especially as someone who is mid-20s, is to always remember your situation. I'm consistently 15+ years younger than the average SM in the room, if not more. Act like an adult, back up your word and speak from knowledge, or at least the ability to look up what you don't know. Will go a long way in a volunteer organization with people who are older.
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DakRadz
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,365

« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2016, 02:25:14 PM »

I appreciate the input being given. I do have plenty of mentorship for the role, though much of it may be unofficial.

Concerning dealing with those with more age and time. As a paramedic for primarily small communities and private companies, being senior to those with 15-30 more years in age (and sometimes experience) isn't new. EMTs who had been medics, or knew how and what to do as a paramedic anyway, just didn't have the card. Or guys who joined my fire department after I did- helmet number was rank order. And that's been a learning experience where being too cocky or brash would cost me my job, in a field where being meek or overly hot tempered gets you opposite sides of the same reputation. So command doesn't paralyze me- but I'm not gunning for it specifically. There just isn't anyone else who has tried or succeeded at it here.

I can admit when I'm wrong, usually keep my mouth shut if I don't truly know, and still understand how to interact with adults of all ages.. all from the experience of hard knocks. I don't think I can be perfect. I think I can be competent and know my limitations. And if I find someone else who can do it competently- great! As I said, I'm playing the long game, but it goes all the way to making sure I build up the unit and can fade out of neccessity, not a cluster built on my existence.
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JAFO78
Seasoned Member

Posts: 385

« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2016, 11:14:43 PM »

Starting a new unit is hard, we have a fellow who wants to start - restart a squadron near us. When I asked my CDR about what was happening with the "New Unit" are we going to support??, I was told higher ups had already decided it was a no go, as the person who wants to start, is very impatient, and I think wanted the wing to fund his efforts.

I noticed a new senior member on the roster and when I asked, I was told that's eager beaver. They want to help him but he doesn't want to be part of the overall program....Good Luck..
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JAFO
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2016, 11:47:56 PM »

^^ The problem with these situations, and even to some extent the discussion here,
is it's many times either a long-ago former member, or someone who isn't even a member
who really doesn't "get" CAP, and decides he's going to be the membership messiah because
he "knows a guy who can get a place", etc.

There's no demographic studies to show whether the area can support a unit, no list of
current or new members committed to the idea, etc., etc.

So the "guy" is told "thanks, but maybe you should be a member before you start seeding units..."
gets his nose out of joint, and walks telling all about the ills of CAP.

The other issue is that new units are >always< a cult of personality, heck most successful units
are to some extent, but a new one will live or die by 1-2 people who star things rolling,
and in more cases then not, they die for that reason.
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DakRadz
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,365

« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2016, 07:09:29 AM »

There's no demographic studies to show whether the area can support a unit, no list of
current or new members committed to the idea, etc., etc.

Are there any such study guidelines in existence for CAP?
I plan to present my own perspective on why the demographics can support a unit out here, but I also don't care to reinvent the wheel. Even a comparable study for ideas would be appreciative- not something I have experience with.

There will be a list of said members. I've seen the Charter reg and read it several times recently.

^^ The problem with these situations, and even to some extent the discussion here,
is it's many times either a long-ago former member, or someone who isn't even a member
who really doesn't "get" CAP, and decides he's going to be the membership messiah because
he "knows a guy who can get a place", etc.

I get CAP. Pace, expectations, enthusiasm... Perhaps I've forgotten just how slow things move. But it is expected. And so far, no location. It's an idea, and a dream, and a goal. Not a convenience... Nothing about CAP is usually convenient or easy. But it can be very rewarding.

So the "guy" is told "thanks, but maybe you should be a member before you start seeding units..."
gets his nose out of joint, and walks telling all about the ills of CAP.

Fine with me on waiting. I don't want to walk in asking about starting a new unit. That's why I used CT to try to get a feel for the appropriate time frame based on experienced officers and not my own enthusiasm. If I wait 6-12 months to ask my CC for mentorship and "here's what the plan is," there won't be forward momentum for a while and I'll continue to participate in the home unit. But at least at that point, Wing can be contacted (if only to make the contacts, not necessarily start anything official until they agree they're comfortable), plans drawn up, approaches to potential meeting places made, etc.

Or they tell me to wait a while longer and I will.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,470
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2018, 11:36:19 PM »

The OP has asked to have this re-opened. Granted.

Let's see how it goes.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Starting a new unit
 


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