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TheSkyHornet
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« on: June 09, 2016, 08:18:00 PM »

If I may ask of you fine Cadet Programs people, what do you consider to be a reasonable absence from unit activities due to external events?

Per CAPR 52-16, 4-4:
Quote
a. Expectations of Cadets. Cadets are required to participate actively in their local unit if they are
to progress in the Cadet Program. Excessive, unexcused absences may be cause for termination from CAP
(see CAPR 35-3, Membership Termination). Any school-related activity is considered an excused absence.
Cadets are responsible for informing their leaders in advance if they expect to be absent. School-related
absences do not excuse cadets from promotion requirements.

b. Cadet Retention. All cadet and composite squadrons will maintain attendance rosters and monitor
their cadet membership retention rate, especially for first-year cadets. When first-year cadets do not attend
any cadet activities within the previous 30 days, the unit commander will ensure someone contacts them to
invite them to participate more actively or learn why they have not been attending CAP events. Any unit
that can show it actively reaches out to absent cadets satisfies the intent of this rule.


How do you handle cadets who are gone for prolonged periods of time, for athletics functions or other extracurricular activities related to school?

By prolonged, I would say anywhere from a month to three months.

I have had cadets say they cannot attend a few meetings in a row due to school plays, which is not a huge deal. I just make sure they understand that they are responsible for their progression, and a lack of attendance can mean missing Character Development and their CPFT testing day.

But then I also have come across some people who feel that we cannot hold a cadet up from promoting so long as they get in their CDI, CPFT, and complete the online tests, despite very little involvement in their unit. Would a C/CMSgt be excused for 2 months due to a school sport and still expect to reach C/2d Lt because they returned and immediately got their CDI Forum and CPFT score in?

There seem to be a lot of what-ifs, and some of these scenarios are ones that I may be coming across in the near future as I'm hearing more and more about joining certain school sports or other team activities as cadets age and enter mid-phases of high school.

I also have those parents on my back who want their "kids" to get into service academies, so sports are a huge thing, but at the same time, I need cadets in duty positions to function in their roles. Not showing up to a meeting means I may have a Flight Sergeant or First Sergeant who isn't there to lead their cadets. If I make the stake that that particular cadet might not be privileged to hold a duty position if they are going to be absent for several months, I get a lot of shack on that.

So, there's me reaching out to the CAP Talk world to hear what some other units have to say, and I'm even hoping for someone to not be on my side of the tracks with this to allow me to see it from another perspective that maybe I'm not considering/understanding.
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Toad1168
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2016, 08:32:24 PM »

I definitely understand your concerns and the need to make sure they are active.  However, we must realize that we are in direct competition with other activities.  Ask yourself, is the cadet a valued member of the squadron that would merit the leeway?  If you lay down the iron fist and say "if you're not here, then you're out" I guarantee the cadet will choose the out. 

When I was a senior cadet, I had a lot of stuff I was involved in.  Once I got to college, the idea that I would be at the meetings was ludicrous.  I was three hours away and the nearest squadron to campus was about 45 minutes.  My home squadron didn't blink an eye and I attended when able.  I kept progressing and made Spaatz.

We need to do what is in the best interests of both the program and the cadet.  If we take a hard line and say it's CAP and nothing else, CAP will lose most times. 
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Toad
TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2016, 08:41:18 PM »

This was a discussion that came up when a group of us talked about it:
"Tell me one baseball coach that says it's okay to miss their meets because you have soccer which meets the same day."
The point was that why is it CAP that has to be given up every time? Why is football or dance more important?

As a caveat, I'm strictly referring to middle school and high-schoolers, not college. And it's in regard to progression and duty assignments, not so much "Should we keep them in the unit?" Hiatus, if you will.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2016, 08:51:14 PM »

This was a discussion that came up when a group of us talked about it:
"Tell me one baseball coach that says it's okay to miss their meets because you have soccer which meets the same day."
The point was that why is it CAP that has to be given up every time? Why is football or dance more important?

As a caveat, I'm strictly referring to middle school and high-schoolers, not college. And it's in regard to progression and duty assignments, not so much "Should we keep them in the unit?" Hiatus, if you will.


Cadets can certainly prioritize other activities over CAP. As long as they understand that we can't have the 1st Sgt bow out for months and expect to be the first shirt or promote right after coming back.


Excused absences should cover a cadet from termination, but promotion isn't just checking the boxes.
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CAPDCCMOM
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 08:53:30 PM »

I will not "drop" a Cadet, if they are still interested in being an active part of the Unit. I will let them know that they will compromise their promotions, In other words, "you have to show up to promote". They also run the risk of being reassigned in their duties. Some positions, I need that person to be there. We also have an obligation to be sensitive to family needs.

I have a Cadet that will be serving as a Flight Sergeant at this Year's Basic Encampment. He has spent almost every weekend out of five doing CAP events. This weekend is a CAC, he asked to be excused in order to spend time with his Dad. The Encampment falls on Father's Day. I gave the permission and excused him. I anticipate catching flack over this, but I felt the the excuse was reasonable, and he gave appropriate notice. If I had denied the permission, I would put my Cadet in a "no win" situation, and alienate a parent. That would be really good for retention of a promising Cadet (note hint of sarcasm).

I also have a C/LtCol that attends the local University. He is great with the Cadets. I assured him when he transferred that I would not hold his duty to his studies against him, and I won't.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 09:14:41 PM »

Well, in the case of C/LtCols...it's a wee bit different. Add college to that, and that makes it even more reasonable.
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abdsp51
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2016, 11:12:46 PM »

Excused absences protect a cadet from termination yes and also should not hamper cadet progression as well.   In this day were academics (regardless of level) need to be a priority cadets shouldn't IMHO be held back on promotions. 

Now this gets tricky when you start talking staff assignments and other activities.  But need to look at is the cadet actively participating when they are able to attend meetings and activities?  Are they given their all when they do participate?

Huge difference between a cadet doing all the above and those that just show to check a box and fill a seat. 

This is also why we have promotion committees and boards to make recommendations to the commander for progression. 
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2016, 11:42:17 PM »

Agreed, but active participation when absent for 3 months for football or other is tricky.
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Storm Chaser
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2016, 11:48:31 PM »

Excused absences protect a cadet from termination yes and also should not hamper cadet progression as well.   In this day were academics (regardless of level) need to be a priority cadets shouldn't IMHO be held back on promotions. 

If a cadet misses a couple of meetings because of school, then I would agree. But if a cadet doesn't show up for weeks or months, then I'm not so sure. Cadets need to be actively participating to get promoted. It really bothers me when a cadet doesn't show up for two or three months, regardless of reason, and then gets promoted on the first meeting he or she attends. I've seen it happen and it discourages those cadets that were there week after week doing the work.
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abdsp51
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2016, 11:48:57 PM »

Agreed, but active participation when absent for 3 months for football or other is tricky.

Can be yes.  But at the same time we can not nor should we be penalizing a cadet for anything academic related.  Not every cadet wants to go to a service academy or enlist in the service. And last time I checked we don't offer college scholarships.   

Can the cadet make meetings and other activities?  Are they giving their all and then some when they do show?  Need to take everything on a case by case basis and look at the total person. 
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2016, 12:44:35 AM »

Agreed, but active participation when absent for 3 months for football or other is tricky.

Can be yes.  But at the same time we can not nor should we be penalizing a cadet for anything academic related.  Not every cadet wants to go to a service academy or enlist in the service. And last time I checked we don't offer college scholarships.   

Can the cadet make meetings and other activities?  Are they giving their all and then some when they do show?  Need to take everything on a case by case basis and look at the total person.


Football, chess club, etc are not academics. They are as extracurricular as CAP.
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abdsp51
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2016, 01:05:54 AM »

Agreed, but active participation when absent for 3 months for football or other is tricky.

Can be yes.  But at the same time we can not nor should we be penalizing a cadet for anything academic related.  Not every cadet wants to go to a service academy or enlist in the service. And last time I checked we don't offer college scholarships.   

Can the cadet make meetings and other activities?  Are they giving their all and then some when they do show?  Need to take everything on a case by case basis and look at the total person.


Football, chess club, etc are not academics. They are as extracurricular as CAP.

If they are part of the school then they are part of academics.  Extra curricular yes I will agree with you on that,  however school sponsored they are academics. 

And maybe we as an org need to figure out how to be more competitive with these activities.
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kwe1009
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2016, 02:35:32 AM »

If they are part of the school then they are part of academics.  Extra curricular yes I will agree with you on that,  however school sponsored they are academics. 

And maybe we as an org need to figure out how to be more competitive with these activities.

I would not call sports or band academic because the student is not required to participate in them in order to graduate.  The teen needs to prioritize their activities in whatever fashion works best for them.  We should not simply roll over and allow cadets to miss months at a time and still promote.

I had this exact discussion with a parent who was upset that I would not approve their child's promotion to the Armstrong Award.  I told her that since her child only attended about 2 meets every 4-5 months it was impossible for me to judge his leadership abilities and determine if he warranted this promotion.  She was understanding but kept talking about all of the other extracurricular activities that her son participated in.  I suggested that if CAP was really important to him then he may need to drop something else or find a squadron that met on a different night. 

Unfortunately I haven't heard from that family in over a year so their decision was that CAP was not a priority and that is fine.  I won't 2B a cadet who is too busy to attend because that may change in the future and I know if they get a 2B they will be gone forever but I can't approve any promotion for a person that I don't see.  I can't judge if they have the leadership and maturity to hold that rank.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2016, 02:49:10 AM »

+1000
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Eclipse
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2016, 03:04:08 AM »

Seconded - you're either there or you aren't, the "why" is largely irrelevant, same goes for seniors.
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SarDragon
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2016, 03:22:13 AM »

I would not call sports or band academic because the student is not required to participate in them in order to graduate.  The teen needs to prioritize their activities in whatever fashion works best for them.  We should not simply roll over and allow cadets to miss months at a time and still promote.
That depends on the school. I took band for credit, at the same level as my other courses (English, Math, etc), and full participation was expected. Missing an activity could have an effect on my grade, if there wasn't a really good excuse.
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Dave Bowles
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2016, 02:07:41 PM »

I would not call sports or band academic because the student is not required to participate in them in order to graduate.  The teen needs to prioritize their activities in whatever fashion works best for them.  We should not simply roll over and allow cadets to miss months at a time and still promote.

I don't know about where you're from, but in Texas (and I would hazard most other states) you are required to take athletics and other electives in order to graduate. I used band to fulfill both my athletics requirement (marching band) and my general electives requirement. Thankfully for me, band and CAP almost never conflicted; but for some others they do.

Now, should someone who regularly misses meetings because of school-based extracurricular activities be promoted immediately when they come back? I would have to say that's a hard no. They have to prove that they are capable of taking on the responsibility of the increased rank, and they can't do that if they are never at CAP. However, those school-based extracurricular activities don't count against there attendance and they must not be made to choose between graduation requirements and CAP.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2016, 02:33:21 PM »

I would not call sports or band academic because the student is not required to participate in them in order to graduate.  The teen needs to prioritize their activities in whatever fashion works best for them.  We should not simply roll over and allow cadets to miss months at a time and still promote.

I don't know about where you're from, but in Texas (and I would hazard most other states) you are required to take athletics and other electives in order to graduate. I used band to fulfill both my athletics requirement (marching band) and my general electives requirement. Thankfully for me, band and CAP almost never conflicted; but for some others they do.

Now, should someone who regularly misses meetings because of school-based extracurricular activities be promoted immediately when they come back? I would have to say that's a hard no. They have to prove that they are capable of taking on the responsibility of the increased rank, and they can't do that if they are never at CAP. However, those school-based extracurricular activities don't count against there attendance and they must not be made to choose between graduation requirements and CAP.


Exactly. I'm not going to hold Model UN against a cadet if that's what they chose to prioritize, but I'm also expected to only promoted cadets when they show that they are ready and meet the expectations of the program. Can't judge the expectations when the cadet is absent for months at a time.
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TheSkyHornet
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2016, 02:46:44 PM »

If they are part of the school then they are part of academics.  Extra curricular yes I will agree with you on that,  however school sponsored they are academics. 

And maybe we as an org need to figure out how to be more competitive with these activities.

I would not call sports or band academic because the student is not required to participate in them in order to graduate.  The teen needs to prioritize their activities in whatever fashion works best for them.  We should not simply roll over and allow cadets to miss months at a time and still promote.

I had this exact discussion with a parent who was upset that I would not approve their child's promotion to the Armstrong Award.  I told her that since her child only attended about 2 meets every 4-5 months it was impossible for me to judge his leadership abilities and determine if he warranted this promotion.  She was understanding but kept talking about all of the other extracurricular activities that her son participated in.  I suggested that if CAP was really important to him then he may need to drop something else or find a squadron that met on a different night. 

Unfortunately I haven't heard from that family in over a year so their decision was that CAP was not a priority and that is fine.  I won't 2B a cadet who is too busy to attend because that may change in the future and I know if they get a 2B they will be gone forever but I can't approve any promotion for a person that I don't see.  I can't judge if they have the leadership and maturity to hold that rank.

So, I am in a predicament where I have some cadets who are absolutely phenomenal at their assigned roles and beyond. There is a lot of work that some of us senior members would be burdened with had it not been for these cadets stepping it at their own will and taking on additional responsibilities to help out.

But when those same cadets want to play sports come fall or spring, I am in a position where I might not be able to appoint this person to the First Sergeant role. I sat down with one cadet who said he would be absent for two, possibly three, months due to ski club, and I had to explain that I am in a really tough position to assign someone to the role of First Sergeant when they aren't going to be at the meeting for 2-3 months consecutively. That same cadet and I spoke two weeks later after I asked him to consider some other roles in the unit that maybe his schedule would permit. And he immediately sprung back with "It's not going to be a problem; CAP is more important. I talked to the catch and worked something out."

That was actually an easy situation for me. Now you start getting into cases where some of the other members in the unit have their sons/daughters in the cadet program. "He wants to go to the Air Force Academy and lettering in a sport would really help." "She is on the track team and they meet on the same day as our meeting." Add in that being someone higher up in the chain of command.

As said, this has nothing to do with whether or not someone is welcome, or if we can even recommend term'ing them. But even the best cadets I've got on my roster aren't going to be treated with some special favor when it comes to having a duty assignment. If you aren't there to lead the flight, or you can't be there to train the new cadets, you can't be the Flight Sergeant/Commander. What else can I do on that? (rhetorical)

I can always give out an administrative task or some behind-the-scenes planning, which can be in conjunction with a duty assignment. What I can't do is have someone not present for months at a time be responsible for seeing to it that things run effectively and are adapted to function throughout the meeting. If the team captain doesn't show up to lead the team on the field, is the coach fine with him hearing about it after the game and seeing what suggestions he can provide later?

I would not call sports or band academic because the student is not required to participate in them in order to graduate.  The teen needs to prioritize their activities in whatever fashion works best for them.  We should not simply roll over and allow cadets to miss months at a time and still promote.

I don't know about where you're from, but in Texas (and I would hazard most other states) you are required to take athletics and other electives in order to graduate. I used band to fulfill both my athletics requirement (marching band) and my general electives requirement. Thankfully for me, band and CAP almost never conflicted; but for some others they do.

Now, should someone who regularly misses meetings because of school-based extracurricular activities be promoted immediately when they come back? I would have to say that's a hard no. They have to prove that they are capable of taking on the responsibility of the increased rank, and they can't do that if they are never at CAP. However, those school-based extracurricular activities don't count against there attendance and they must not be made to choose between graduation requirements and CAP.


Exactly. I'm not going to hold Model UN against a cadet if that's what they chose to prioritize, but I'm also expected to only promoted cadets when they show that they are ready and meet the expectations of the program. Can't judge the expectations when the cadet is absent for months at a time.

I have had several cadets say their goals are to earn their Spaatz by (insert deadline). Great ambition. Try your best. I'll work with you to try and get you there. But if you don't show up, it's not going to happen. Earn is the key word. Being dedicated mentally doesn't do me any favors if you aren't dedicated physically.

It's a youth program, yes. But it's a leadership program. I'm responsible for 20 other cadets plus some senior members as well. You have a great kid and all, but your kid isn't under some special privilege of mine just because I like the lad.
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Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2016, 04:22:03 PM »

Dont know your school system, but in New York City students need 4 credit hours of Phys Ed every year; two of Visual Art, Music, Dance, and/or theater; 1 of Health; and 7 electives. Phys Ed, Visual Arts, Health are not electives.
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CAP Talk  |  Cadet Programs  |  Cadet Programs Management & Activities  |  Topic: Activities External to CAP / Cadet Active Participation
 


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