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Author Topic: My legacy level 2 (1st Lt) to level 3 (Capt) experience so far  (Read 3512 times)
flyboy_x
Recruit

Posts: 15
Unit: CO-143

« on: December 27, 2017, 03:44:21 AM »

I am torn  as to what I think about the professional development required of seniors.  As I slog through Levels 2 and 3, the following are my observations.  Maybe others can chime in.

Since I ranked up to 1st Lt in 2014 after the rule change, it turns out that was my Grandfathered freebee.  Now to obtain Captain, I Have to take SLS, OBC, and am working on CLC and have attended and presented at 2 conferences.  I'm doing the work and will be rewarded with Level 3 and captain after CLC.  I'm wondering if others share my thoughts after my experience. 

Opinion:  This is a lot to ask a volunteer with a full time job that has been in the program for many years and puts in extra time on weekends.   If the courses are 12 hours of classroom time (this is an underestimation) this amounts to 36 hours of training .  My problem is that the curriculum overlaps so each course teaches a majority of the same thing and you end up reviewing the SAME topics utilizing the same regulations and forms etc. If CAP is requiring this of it's seniors then the curriculum needs to be improved to encourage timely or any senior promotions.  Don't get me wrong, the content is marginally useful but it gets REALLY old after seeing it so many times. Since I have vowed to not take another online CAP course because they drag on for weeks, I am now waiting for another CLC to come around that doesn't happen on the same weekend as a CyberPatriot round. With SLS and CLC being key to Level 2 and 3, why aren't these being held at least once a quarter at a location that is reasonable?  No, I'm not going to travel 6 hours for a class.  More instructors need to step up and teach these locally to their seniors and invite others to them. 

 All this being said, please don't take this as me complaining.  There has got to be a better way.  I don't know if rank matters for a lot of people but for a volunteer organization that is struggling with retention at all levels, the amount of training required per rank and T&G is mind boggling. 
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,337
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 04:06:16 AM »

If you are getting "repeated" info from SLS in CLC, someone's doing it wrong. I teach both, and CLC is supposed to build on SLS.

Here are the lesson titles from both courses:
 SLS
2.1 Officership and the Public Trust
2.2 Introduction to Professional Development
3.1 Squadrons: The Heart of CAP
3.2 Squadron Staff Officers
3.3 Individualized Training in Staff Specialties
4.1 Introduction to Leadership
4.2 The Staff Officer as Communicator
4.3 Creative Thinking & Problem Solving
 
CLC
Lesson   2.1  Why CAP
Lesson   2.2  Core Values in Action
Lesson   2.3  Resources at Work
Lesson   2.4  Structure, Purpose &  Procedures
Lesson   2.5  The CAP/USAF Relationship
Lesson   3.1  Broadening Horizons
Lesson   3.2  Introduction to Teamwork
Lesson   3.3  The Heart of a Volunteer
Lesson   3.4  Management Principles
Lesson   3.5  Planning & Decision Making
Lesson   3.6  Best Practices
Lesson   3.7  Mentoring

I'm not seeing any duplication there.

If there is duplication, the instructors either aren't using the lesson guides, or are adding material (not always a bad thing, within reason) above and beyond the lesson content (which usually makes the lessons run long).


 
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
flyboy_x
Recruit

Posts: 15
Unit: CO-143

« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 04:09:59 AM »

The specific area I'm referring to is the SLS and OBC.  I took SLS first as OBC wasn't required in legacy level 2.  The course I took was 3 modules online and covered a lot of material the SLS did. 

Like I said, I haven't taken CLC as of yet.  If it's as you say then I'm looking forward to it.

Regards
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,337
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 04:14:24 AM »

The specific area I'm referring to is the SLS and OBC.  I took SLS first as OBC wasn't required in legacy level 2.  The course I took was 3 modules online and covered a lot of material the SLS did. 

Like I said, I haven't taken CLC as of yet.  If it's as you say then I'm looking forward to it.

Regards

OK, It's midnight here. As fos OBC and SLS duplication, I can't help you there. I took the olde (excruciatingly boring) ECI/AFIADL correspondence course 14 years ago, and do not have access to the new OBC, since I have "already completed" it. Sorry.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,230
Unit: Worry

« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 04:28:08 AM »

Same boat and time schedule, except I just need to get the 2 conferences out of the way. I'll therefore be going to 2 wing conferences in 2018, one in a neighboring wing to do external networking.
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Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,230
Unit: Worry

« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 04:30:03 AM »

I'll also mention that my current commander has seriously gone to bat for my squadron on classes; the last 2 years we've hosted both an SLS and CLC course locally.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 377
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 05:06:22 AM »

OBC / CLC / SLS were repetitive and borderline sophomoric. Frankly Cadet Officer's School was far more substantial. That said, I (sort of) get it. To be an effective part of the organizational cadre, we need to have a level of institutional knowledge. Frankly I am certain there are other, better ways, but this is what we have. I do hope the Gen X/Gen Y leaders get involved and become part of the future so that these programs can be made more relevant, efficient and effective.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 05:29:19 AM by Cicero » Logged
SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,337
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2017, 05:34:38 AM »

OBC / CLC / SLS were repetitive and borderline sophomoric. Frankly Cadet Officer's School was far more substantial. That said, I (sort of) get it. To be an effective part of the organizational cadre, we need to have a level of institutional knowledge. Frankly I am certain there are other, better ways, but this is what we have. I do hope the Gen X/Gen Y leaders get involved and become part of the future so that these programs van be made more relevant, efficient and effective.

How long ago did you take SLS and CLC. I've found the curricula for the current versions to be much better that what I sat through back in 1989.

How do you find them sophomoric? They are written in an attempt to achieve a happy medium among all the different military and business experience levels. I don't expect them to totally suit every single student. I try to get my more experienced students involved to share their wisdom, no matter the source, to improve the course content. Almost half of each lesson I teach is discussion based, to build on the "Death by PowerPoint" portion. Engaging the students is an essential part of each of the courses.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
AWACS-Guy
Recruit

Posts: 6

« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2017, 06:42:12 AM »

I guess I missed something about CAP over the years. Just exactly why do we "need" to advance in rank? I joined to serve with my piloting abilities as an emergency service aircrew member. Not to be a squadron historian, not to be the finance officer, not to be checking to see that there were property tags on every table and chair owned by the squadron, but to be part of an emergency service aircrew. Phony CAP rank is just that - phony CAP rank. I will put in all the hours needed to serve as an ES aircrew member - and help out with whatever support tasks are needed, but to advance in "rank"? I see not the point.

AWACS-Guy, 2dLt CAP (retired)
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,861

« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2017, 10:02:12 AM »

There's nothing wrong with the course content, but delivery varies widely. The unfortunate requirement for members to lead or teach a Professional Development course almost guarantees that unqualified personnel will be standing in front of a class, doing it wrong.

Properly lead with dynamic instructors who are real SMEs, you won't want the course to end after only two days.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 377
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2017, 10:49:17 AM »

I guess I missed something about CAP over the years. Just exactly why do we "need" to advance in rank? I joined to serve with my piloting abilities as an emergency service aircrew member. Not to be a squadron historian, not to be the finance officer, not to be checking to see that there were property tags on every table and chair owned by the squadron, but to be part of an emergency service aircrew. Phony CAP rank is just that - phony CAP rank. I will put in all the hours needed to serve as an ES aircrew member - and help out with whatever support tasks are needed, but to advance in "rank"? I see not the point.

AWACS-Guy, 2dLt CAP (retired)
In ES "rank" (grade) means very little. In some specialty tracks, Cadet Programs, Command, PAO as examples, they impact public perception. BTW, not "phony" - very real and today more difficult to earn. Just like the ribbons and drill and ceremonies play little direct role in ES (and is a big reason for Senior Squadrons in places where there is an active ES program and members feel as you do) and a much bigger role in other specialties. BTW absent all those other specialties, especially logistics, finance, command, etc - ES would not function. We all play a role.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 377
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2017, 10:50:51 AM »

There's nothing wrong with the course content, but delivery varies widely. The unfortunate requirement for members to lead or teach a Professional Development course almost guarantees that unqualified personnel will be standing in front of a class, doing it wrong.

Properly lead with dynamic instructors who are real SMEs, you won't want the course to end after only two days.
Agreed.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,560

« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2017, 10:58:10 AM »

There's nothing wrong with the course content, but delivery varies widely. The unfortunate requirement for members to lead or teach a Professional Development course almost guarantees that unqualified personnel will be standing in front of a class, doing it wrong.

Properly lead with dynamic instructors who are real SMEs, you won't want the course to end after only two days.

+1 - Also, the new promotion requirements virtually guarantee that far fewer members will ever promote above
Captain, which is clearly by design.

I know that's a grumble point for a lot of my peers who joined with one program and had the rules changed on them,
but cards on the table, for at least most of them, is that even RSC is too long a row, let alone NSC, so Lt Col was
going to be a "maybe someday", regardless.

The dawning of that realization as the last 1-click year approaches isn't "fueling member spirit", though, in
the very people CAP can ill-afford to lose - the 10-year crowd with the real experience and knowledgebase.

Let's look at this objectively - promotion into the field grades should be for those members who accept
and execute higher then their peers - there's no "longevity guarantees" in life, the military, or civilian
jobs, and there shouldn't be for CAP.

You don't join the USAF as a butter bar with the "knowledge that if I just check the boxes I can be a
Lt Col someday", yet serve in a non-leadership role and place a bunch of caveats on what you will and won't do.

Nor do you get a job at Dunder-Mifflin, perform your duties well, and automatically become a manager.

Members are going to have to get used to the idea that those that serve dutifully and to do their best, but
never, or rarely, venture out of the unit, won't "drive that 6 hours" to a PD seminar, wing conference, or
NCSA, will serve and retire as Captains at most and that is absolutely not only fine, but the expectation.

It's referred to as a "company grade" for a reason - the scope of experience.
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Panzerbjorn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 280
Unit: MER-NC-048

« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2017, 11:54:31 AM »

Opinion:  This is a lot to ask a volunteer with a full time job that has been in the program for many years and puts in extra time on weekends.   If the courses are 12 hours of classroom time (this is an underestimation) this amounts to 36 hours of training .  My problem is that the curriculum overlaps so each course teaches a majority of the same thing and you end up reviewing the SAME topics utilizing the same regulations and forms etc. If CAP is requiring this of it's seniors then the curriculum needs to be improved to encourage timely or any senior promotions.  Don't get me wrong, the content is marginally useful but it gets REALLY old after seeing it so many times. Since I have vowed to not take another online CAP course because they drag on for weeks, I am now waiting for another CLC to come around that doesn't happen on the same weekend as a CyberPatriot round. With SLS and CLC being key to Level 2 and 3, why aren't these being held at least once a quarter at a location that is reasonable?  No, I'm not going to travel 6 hours for a class.  More instructors need to step up and teach these locally to their seniors and invite others to them.   

- So you wont do an online class because they stretch out for weeks, but you’ll wait weeks or even months for an in person class to be available?  Kind of six in one half dozen in the other.  May as well do the online course if youre going to wait just as long for an in-person course.  It’s how I did CLC.  I am in agreement that the online version could have been condensed into probably half the time, but I competed it long before another in-person CLC was available in the area.

- “...a lot to ask a volunteer with a full time job...”, yet you’re asking for local instructors to step up and invite others to them.  These instructors too have full time jobs and it takes A LOT of coordination to out on an in-person course.  This is why TLC, SLS, and CLC in person courses are often few and far between and why they’re available in an online format.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to travel 6 hours for a weekend class.  When it starts getting to even a three hour drive, I start looking for means to fly to the course and offer seats in the plane to those who want to attend the training too.  I’m not unique in that approach and it may only take an email out to your fellow senior membrs in your squadron to see if there are any seats on a CAP aircraft availble going out to a distant training event.
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Major
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Ground Branch Director
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 377
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2017, 12:02:14 PM »

If you are getting "repeated" info from SLS in CLC, someone's doing it wrong. I teach both, and CLC is supposed to build on SLS.

Here are the lesson titles from both courses:
 SLS
2.1 Officership and the Public Trust
2.2 Introduction to Professional Development
3.1 Squadrons: The Heart of CAP
3.2 Squadron Staff Officers
3.3 Individualized Training in Staff Specialties
4.1 Introduction to Leadership
4.2 The Staff Officer as Communicator
4.3 Creative Thinking & Problem Solving
 
CLC
Lesson   2.1  Why CAP
Lesson   2.2  Core Values in Action
Lesson   2.3  Resources at Work
Lesson   2.4  Structure, Purpose &  Procedures
Lesson   2.5  The CAP/USAF Relationship
Lesson   3.1  Broadening Horizons
Lesson   3.2  Introduction to Teamwork
Lesson   3.3  The Heart of a Volunteer
Lesson   3.4  Management Principles
Lesson   3.5  Planning & Decision Making
Lesson   3.6  Best Practices
Lesson   3.7  Mentoring

I'm not seeing any duplication there.

If there is duplication, the instructors either aren't using the lesson guides, or are adding material (not always a bad thing, within reason) above and beyond the lesson content (which usually makes the lessons run long).

Add OBC:

OBC Block 1 Lessons
Intro to Followership   Leadership Traits & Styles   Group Dynamics   Team Building
Counseling   Conflict Management   Problem Solving   Implementing Change
Effective Decisions   Effective Communication   Intro to Mentoring   


OBC Block 2 Lessons
Professionalism   CAP Core Values   CAP Ethics   CAP Chain of Command
CAP Uniform Wear   Grade   Standards   PD of Senior Members
PD of Cadets   Specialty Training Tracks   AF Style Correspondence   AF Style Briefing
CAP Chaplain Corps   Diversity   Discipline Versus Abuse   Cadet Protection
Resource Accountability    Safety       


OBC Block 3 Lessons
CAP Vision & Mission   CAP & USAF History   Legal Basis for CAP   Organization of CAP
Membership Categories   Accomplishing Mission   Support to Civil & Military   Inspector General System
CAP Insurance & Benefits   Recruiting & Retention   Nondiscrimination Policy    

Again, to me (and admittedly "off the cuff") the three courses had the appearance of being repetitive. Further the analysis and discussion ended up being very much a reflection of the volunteer instructor - some extraordinary - others average - and at least a couple really bright folks who probably are not cut out to teach. 
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 377
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2017, 12:13:26 PM »

I am torn  as to what I think about the professional development required of seniors.  As I slog through Levels 2 and 3, the following are my observations.  Maybe others can chime in.

One of the reasons I am reasonably satisfied with what has transpired is a had a great mentor who was able to keep me:
1 - focused on what my goals are,
2 - how those goals synced with the local unit goals,
3 - what courses to take in what order,
4 - how to find opportunities for live courses when needed.

I suspect that the role of PDO is often relegated to the CC and may, because of the incredible work required by that position, suffer neglect. Just my, very possibly uninformed (as I have very little recent experience outside my own squadron)  opinion.
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NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,854
Unit: of issue

« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2017, 12:49:16 PM »

Again, to me (and admittedly "off the cuff") the three courses had the appearance of being repetitive. Further the analysis and discussion ended up being very much a reflection of the volunteer instructor - some extraordinary - others average - and at least a couple really bright folks who probably are not cut out to teach.

The variability of senior training between units is not unusual. Its been an ongoing challenge for many, many years.

I was an adult leader in the Venturing/Exploring/BSA programs off and on for years.  Back when I commanded a dual-chartered unit in the Detroit Area Council, the local district training people held their weekend "leader orientation" (aka "Level I") at the IBM building in Southfield, MI. One of the district muckety-mucks was a bigwig at IBM and secured the use of the building, training space, and even got IBM to "contribute" the coffee & muffins/bagels.   They ran that training in a way that CAP senior training could aspire to. It was 4 hrs, no fooling around. Show up, sign in, get a bagel & coffee, get in the room, 4 45 minute blocks with a legit 15 minute break each hour and we were done at noon.  I remarked to my other members at the time (some of whom were also BSA members) "CAP could learn a lot from how BSA runs training!"

After a few years "off" as a scouting leader, I came back in to BSA to run my son's Cub Pack, and I signed up for the local district's fall leader training. The training was a few weeks after the start of the school year at a local HS.  Expecting a similar BSA experience to what I'd run into 15 years before, I showed up at the appointed time & place to find people milling around, nobody knew who was going where, there were no bagels or coffee, it was absolute chaos.  Nobody was there to greet and sign in participants, the instructors were ill prepared, etc.  I was stunned.

So even within an organization that (supposedly) has their "professional development" training down pat, there's a huge disparity.  (plus, BSA has paid employees down to the Council level, meaning that less than  20 miles away there are paid people whose jobs it is to coordinate and manage these training events in each of the districts, and it was *still* a flaming trainwreck)

I do know that the PD folks nationally are trying to move to a training model that is different than one we've had before, in that we're doing some blended or hybridized training (some online component, and then an in-person component that is geared toward reinforcing the lessons of the online component, but not "death by Powerpoint" for people). I know that Unit Commander's Course is on this model, and I've heard very positive instructor and student reports from it.

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,560

« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2017, 01:47:36 PM »

I do know that the PD folks nationally are trying to move to a training model that is different than one we've had before, in that we're doing some blended or hybridized training (some online component, and then an in-person component that is geared toward reinforcing the lessons of the online component, but not "death by Powerpoint" for people). I know that Unit Commander's Course is on this model, and I've heard very positive instructor and student reports from it.

The major whine comment about the new UCC was all the pre-course requirements - I was just an instructor
at one - "requirement" being a subjective term in CAP, that always leaves the option to simply not do them.

The single biggest problem is the timing - CAP needs to move to a model similar to the BSA for unit leaders - i.e.
you >must< get trained before or within "x" of assuming command.

Since quite literally nothing but CPT is really "required", per se in CAP (heck you can fly and never get a Level 1)
a lot of PD is done, as discussed here, not as a tool towards increased knowledge and proficiency, but as a checkbox
to get promoted or a PD Level.

Having a roomful of former CC's in a UCC, 5+ year members in an SLS, or similar probably serves very little other
then to >maybe< correct an occasional wives tale, and / or expose poor trainers and generally ill-informed members
who are too fully-cooked to change bad habits.

Even RSC and NSC seem generally to be just re-hashs and insurance-company check boxes.
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MacGruff
Seasoned Member

Posts: 334

« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2017, 04:24:37 PM »

One more set of comments on the offered PD courses. I'm one of those who is a PDO and have found that even holding an annual SLS in my corner of the state is a problem. There are six squadrons in my group. For this past year, I knew that there were 39 people who needed SLS for their Level 2. I organize a weekend SLS and place it so that it is a maximum of two hour's drive from the furthest squadron.

I barely get 8 to 10 people registered from the group. Since one or two will ALWAYS fail to show up, that places the whole thing at risk. Yes, I open it up to other Groups, and even other Wings --- Last one I organized we ended up with 11 students. One was from a different state, and thee others were from other groups.... and remember! ... this was for the "once a year" offering, meaning that without it you could not get your Level 2 for at least another 12 months (if that was the only thing remaining for you to do).

Yes, I advertised it to everyone, including personal emails to each member who required it.

Got support from the Wing level and had a high quality cadre of instructors. Wing even paid for the breakfast, lunch, coffee and snacks throughout the day.

Oh, and finally - We did a hybrid version where you took some online training during the month before the event and held the event in one single 8 hour day!


Bottom line, only 7 of 39 members were willing to do some preliminary work and then attend an 8 hour training that did not require an overnight stay...


[By the way, this is not supposed to be a whiny complaint, merely my sharing my experiences. Previous years worked out about the same...]
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abdsp51
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,532
Unit: Classified

« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2017, 04:43:39 PM »

One thing to point out is that being military or prior you can get for CAP PD Courses for PME completion. Not to mention that there are some aspects that can be completed online similar to many college courses.
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: My legacy level 2 (1st Lt) to level 3 (Capt) experience so far
 


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