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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: What contributes to the retention rate? (Split from The Command Chief thread)
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Author Topic: What contributes to the retention rate? (Split from The Command Chief thread)  (Read 2617 times)
NIN
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Posts: 5,025
Unit: of issue

« on: February 18, 2018, 04:32:43 PM »

Quote from: Fester
I'm curious where the loss rates come from.  They seem very high.  But I trust them seeing as they come from NIN and seem to be collaborated by Ned.

My question is, why are we losing so many?  Ned has some ideas that seem valid, but do we have any concrete data?  Do we do any outreach after losing a cadet to find out why they left?  It seems like, with the availability of electronic communications these days, that could be an easy task.  Furthermore, wouldn't that first person data make coming up with a strategy to solve the problem so much easier? And more effective?

Long post follows. But here's the TL;DR "CAP needs to make sure we set the expectations with our members and then deliver on those expectations."

So yeah, there's exit surveying that goes on.  We certainly do that, although at the moment, IMHO, its not nearly as effective as we'd like and we're looking at some ways to improve it.

First year cadet loss rates, as Ned as said, have been that high for a long time. They're similar to that found in other organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sea Cadets, etc, but you won't see the Boy Scouts actually *say* what their retention rate is (as a former cubmaster, I can tell you that number will be similar... My cub pack lost around 60% of our first year scouts for 2 years running..)

Ours has varied from first year cadet retention of 23% to upwards of 35% (77-65% turnover) It varies a fair bit, actually.  A lot more than seniors.  Senior retention (not broken out by first year) seems to vary between 71 & 74% or so and has been as high as 78%.

So what causes 65-75% of our first year cadets to walk?

Based on exit surveys, pretty consistently the most prominent reason is that "CAP wasn't what they thought it would be."  That's followed immediately by availability (time) and interests.

Keep this concept in the back of your mind while we talk about this: retention, like politics, is "local." With 1,000 or so units nationwide, I think you can imagine that not every unit participates in every aspect of CAP, nor do they necessarily follow the nationally provided guidance to a "T," which results in a high degree of "unevenness" between units.  CAP National HQ can't manage the "experience" at the local unit beyond trying to provide programs that can be scaled and managed easily locally. Really much of the flavor, tenor and activity of a local unit comes from the cast of characters running it. (this is likely *very* much the same with BSA, too. Scout units vary from "really awesome, well supported, well run and active" to "not very exciting and run by people who have run out of ideas or don't even care to crack the nationally provided guidance." And it shows)  Two units in the same town, just a few miles apart, might be like night and day.

So why is it that "CAP wasn't what they thought it would be?"

First
I think that a lot of CAP units portray a "Pollyanna-ish" version of CAP to prospective members in the recruiting process.  This has been a consistent theme of mine in talking to the membership about "recruiting for retention":  "Sell the Civil Air Patrol you have, not the one you wish you had." 

As an example: A unit might hard-sell orientation flights as a key aspect of their program. But the reality might be that they aren't a flying unit with a plane, and the next nearest unit with a plane and an orientation pilot is 150 miles away. The first time one of their cadets might get to even see a CAP plane might be summer encampment.  If they go.

Another example is NCSAs: Units might sell PJOC, Hawk Mountain, AETCFC, or IACE as part of their recruiting pitch, but the majority of cadets won't ever come close to *any* of that ever, let alone in their first year (and, in the case of IACE, likely not until your 3rd year or beyond, if you stick around). So cadets join expecting to be on Air Force bases every other week, flying in jets and Herks, traveling the world, saving people left and right.  And what do they actually get?  Endlessly marching in circles and next to nothing aviation.

Consequently, prospective members have an unrealistic expectation of what they're going to do when they join and leave when those expectations are not met.  Units have to be realistic in what they do and how they portray what they do and deliver on that promise to the member.

Second
A lot of teenagers only see what they want to see when presented with an activity or organization. If its BSA, they might only see knot-tying and camping, not realizing that every meeting or activity isn't knot-tying or camping, but there's a lot more to making rank that some 550 cord and a tent.  If its football, they might only see the schnazzy uniforms and cheerleaders under the bright lights on a Friday night, not the hours upon hours of brutal practice the other 4 days of the week that goes in to becoming a good enough player to be on the first-string. 

(I have a sixteen year old at home who is a baseball and football player.  Its taken him literally *years* to be a good enough baseball player to be on the field for more than 3 or 4 innings in a game. I'd been telling him for that whole time that the only way he was going to get better at hitting was to take batting practice at the local indoor cages, and a lot of pitched balls, too. He somehow had it in his head that he has some natural ability [he doesn't], his encyclopedic knowledge of players and stats will help him swing the bat, and playing MLB on the ol' PS3 was going to be the trick. Only in the last 2 years of high school baseball has he finally clicked into a rhythm, but that involved a LOT of work on eye-hand coordination, swing mechanics and actual hitting at the cages with coaching. Then, oh, lo and behold, his hitting started to get better.  But NOBODY, his old man included, could originally convince him that baseball more than just effortless yet spectacular hits over the fence to win the game, so he got very that he wasn't going anywhere.  He lucked out in that his school has a small baseball and football team and they can barely fill all the roster slots, so he gets opportunities that kids might not in a larger school, and finally has started to see that effort, not just desire or glitz, yields results)

So if the unit, during its recruiting process, isn't doing anything to level-set the prospects's expectation of what they have to do up front, some folks are going to be understandably disappointed that their expectations don't match reality.  hey find out that wearing a uniform takes work, that they have to cut their hair, that the cadet program isn't all hanging off rappel ropes on a mountain and flying upside down in a T-38, its learning in a classroom and taking tests and actually putting forth an effort to advance. Its not a "gimmie."

As part of my unit's new member packet for our spring recruiting night, we just whipped up the attached PDF [ETA: Which Jerry broke while trying to upgrade the forums, so I'll have to host it elsewhere -NIN] as something to help make clear to prospective cadets what the "first year" is going to look like.  (this is a draft, BTW, not ready for primetime, but I'll happily take input on ways to make it better!)

Third
Units don't do a very good job of reviewing members for "fit." Are we doing any actual formalized expectation setting with a prospective cadet when we bring them on board?  Are we confirming that the prospective cadet is the right fit for the outfit, and the outfit is the right fit for them?

CAPR 39-2 now says that membership boards are applicable only to CSMs, Active Members and patrons at the local units (para 1.5).

However, I will tell you that my unit has put every single prospective cadet who has come into the organization in front of a "membership board" since at least 2002 or 2003.  Now, that board really isn't there to say "yay" or "nay," but more so to sit them down in a formalized way and say "OK, do you understand why you're here? Do you have an understanding of what CAP is? What do you want to get out of CAP?," that kind of thing, and really "set the tone" for a new cadet's membership. 

As a recruiter, I can separate cadet membership dues from a parent really easily by selling CAP's value prop. Pretty easy. But when Cadet Timmy and his mom don't understand whats expected on their side and what they're going to get out of CAP, is Timmy going to be there for the next year and beyond? Are they going to get their $44 worth of the first year?  Maybe, maybe not.

I had a young man join this past cycle, I actually have known him for about 5-6 years prior to CAP (he was in my cub scout pack).  At our unit open house, dad mentioned something about "Well, he's got his oboe practice on Thursdays, but we think we can make this work around that and soccer and church volunteering and ... " My alarm bells went off.  Like a lot of teens, it sounded like he was oversubscribed.

"You sure he's going to be able to participate actively?  I'm not saying CAP is going to suck up all of his time, but its a participatory program for the cadet: if you're not at meetings, you're missing the things you need to do to advance."

"Oh, no,  I think we can make it work out all OK."

"Alright..."

(at the end of the day, I'm not necessarily going to tell a parent "no" absent their kid being a troublemaker. Its my job to explain to them our  expectation of participation and need for involvement. If they think they can meet that, fine. Its their family schedule, their running around in the car, their schlepping Junior from point A to point B, etc. Sometimes, you know, no amount of explaining will do..)

Turned out mom wasn't a big fan of CAP, dad's an airline pilot, so on the weeks that dad's on a trip, the young man didn't come to CAP because his mom didn't want to bring him.

*sigh* Can't always see that kind of thing coming.  :-\

Fourth (and last)
As I alluded to first, units sell "the CAP they wish they had" versus the "CAP they have" or "the CAP they're doing"  A lot of units aren't even putting the rubber on the road to conduct basic aspects of the program correctly & consistently. So a young man or woman joins CAP on the basis of how good the unit's "marketing" effort is, not on whats actually going on week to week. Its not that the unit is even "overselling CAP" to a prospect, its that they're "under-doing CAP" locally, and after 4-5 months, the cadets go "We're doing the same dumb thing every night.. this is boring."

Units have to work to be active, vibrant and encompassing.  If a unit defaults to "drill and ceremonies" every time there's an unexpected break in the schedule or someone forgot to plan ahead, and they're just bumbling around the school cafeteria doing this marching thing poorly anyway, how long do you expect people to stick around for that?  "I thought I joined the Civil AIR Patrol, not the Civil Marching Around In Weird Circles Patrol."

I think that should about cover the "CAP not what I expected" aspect.


So now we get into things like Time & Interest, the other reasons why cadets leave.

The time aspect, as I alluded to above, is also part of expectation setting, but is also a function of when we recruit young men and women.

Recruiting a 12-13 year old who is in middle school is different than recruiting a 15-16 year old who is in high school.  When you're 12, you probably don't have 72 distractions happening yet.

One of my commanders liked to joke that we need to establish cadets in the program before the "fumes" get to them. And by "fumes," he means "gas fumes" and "perfumes."  He believed, and I tend to agree, that if you get a cadet involved in CAP and they become a senior NCO or cadet officer, kind of get into the groove of the program, when they get older and get distracted by the realities of life: they want a car when they turn 16, so they need a job, and then discover girls (or boys), they'll still participate in CAP since they're heavily invested or engaged.

Also, as I said before, a lot of young people *heavily* oversubscribed these days.  They have a 7.9 grade point average in 17 AP classes, play 2-3 sports, they're in band, drama, 4H, volunteer for the church, feed the homeless on alternative Saturdays and in their copious spare time they lifeguard at the YMCA, taking college enrichment classes and Dale Carnegie for their resume, and have a side business doing astrophotography using hand-built pinhole cameras and homemade photographic paper.  Yikes.

Question: Where does CAP fit into all that? Answer: Likely nowhere. And when the going gets tough,and choices have to be made, CAP, the new thing, will be the first to go.

So why recruit that cadet in the first place? The words "You know, maybe CAP isn't the kind of fit for young Timmy right now.." can be said.

Better to filter Timmy out beforehand than go thru all the effort to train him, get him equipped with uniforms and such, and then *poof* he nopes out in six months because he has to take another guitar class to follow his dream as the next Joe Satriani.

We honestly cannot manufacture more time. CAP takes at *least* 2 1/2-3 hrs a week just for meetings, and then maybe a couple Saturdays a month. If you're already committed to a couple Saturdays a month and multiple evenings during the week, you're going to run out of bandwidth quickly.  CAP might not be the right fit.

The interest thing is the next one in the pipeline, and again, that's solved by clear expectation setting up front, and making sure that cadets know what the program is all about before they sign on the dotted line.

I had a new cadet join in the fall. She was older (15-16?) and interested in flying.

"Can I fly? Can I get my pilot's license thru CAP?" she asked.

"Well, you *can* fly and you *could* get your pilot's license, but it takes some effort, time, money and timing. It gets down the availability of you, the aircraft and instructors, the weather, etc. If you're available, the plane is available, the instructor is available and the weather is right, you will likely go flying. If you're not able to get to the airport, the plane is off to maintenance, the weather stinks on the day you have everything lined up, you're going to have a hard time.  And our wing only has 1 Cessna 172 to do primary training in, and every 60 days it gets moved to another airport. So you and the instructor might have to travel to another airport in the state to continue the training in that airplane."

She was also interested in going in the Air Force after high school and her school didn't have JROTC, so CAP was all she had access to. She lived a little further out of town, so getting to meetings was going to require some effort, but if she said she was still very interested in what we're doing and the programs we offer. OK, cool. Come on in.

Well, she hasn't been to a meeting since the first of the year. When contacted, she professed that what CAP is doing is cool, but her interests have changed. The Air Force isn't a priority, flying isn't all the inviting and exciting, and, well, she's got other things.   Hrrmph. Not going to do much about that.

Interests change, but making sure that prospects know what they're getting in to and fit the organization will go a long way in ensuring that people who have the right interests are matched with CAP.


Bottom line: CAP isn't for everybody, and if we're recruiting everybody with a pulse and a checkbook and no understanding of what they're doing, or we're deliberately obfuscating what we are and what we do so that we can arm-twist a few more cadets (or seniors) into the organization, we're selling ourselves and our prospective members short.




« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 10:54:05 AM by NIN » Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
OldGuy
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Posts: 513
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 04:38:38 PM »

Make retention part of the program, with incentives for the cadets and SM team.
See what barriers exist in current offerings:
* transportation
* flexibility
* engagement

Incentives:
* community service hours
* internship hours

Interactive tracking!
* use modern tools
* notice them!
* Social media w/o wing/region/NHQ nitpicking!

See https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/sites/default/files/retention_webinar_slides.pdf for primary sources!
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MacGruff
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Posts: 347

« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 04:58:05 PM »

As part of my unit's new member packet for our spring recruiting night, we just whipped up the attached PDF as something to help make clear to prospective cadets what the "first year" is going to look like.  (this is a draft, BTW, not ready for primetime, but I'll happily take input on ways to make it better!)

Nin - With your permission, I am "stealing" your file and will tailor it to our squadron's realities. Thanks!!
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NIN
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 05:08:20 PM »

As part of my unit's new member packet for our spring recruiting night, we just whipped up the attached PDF as something to help make clear to prospective cadets what the "first year" is going to look like.  (this is a draft, BTW, not ready for primetime, but I'll happily take input on ways to make it better!)

Nin - With your permission, I am "stealing" your file and will tailor it to our squadron's realities. Thanks!!

I'll give you the original word file, if you like. Just shoot me an email.

But, in return:  I'd like feedback and suggestions on making it more streamlined.

Its tailored a little bit to my unit (Basic Cadet Training vs Great Start, etc), but obviously its not hard to modify

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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 © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
etodd
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Posts: 1,323

« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 12:20:14 AM »

Quote
"Gas fumes and perfumes"

Remember that one well from Boy Scouts back in the '60s. The Scout Masters used that expression back then. Always been a factor.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 12:52:53 AM by etodd » Logged
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etodd
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 12:52:29 AM »



Also, as I said before, a lot of young people *heavily* oversubscribed these days.  They have a 7.9 grade point average in 17 AP classes, play 2-3 sports, they're in band, drama, 4H, volunteer for the church, feed the homeless on alternative Saturdays and in their copious spare time they lifeguard at the YMCA, taking college enrichment classes and Dale Carnegie for their resume, and have a side business doing astrophotography using hand-built pinhole cameras and homemade photographic paper.  Yikes.


Another reason to heavily market to all the homeschool covers in the area. Those kids usually have much more free time and are looking for 'out of the home' activities.
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etodd
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 12:59:54 AM »


Turned out mom wasn't a big fan of CAP ....


Yes, I've seen this ....

Mom brings her kid to his first meeting to check things out, and it happens to fall on drill night in full blues .... Mom freaks out thinking of her little 13 year old turning into a soldier and going to war. Her kid talked of aerospace, but she sees soldiers. She will try to get him interested in sports instead.
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OldGuy
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 01:06:47 AM »

As part of my unit's new member packet for our spring recruiting night, we just whipped up the attached PDF as something to help make clear to prospective cadets what the "first year" is going to look like.  (this is a draft, BTW, not ready for primetime, but I'll happily take input on ways to make it better!)

Nin - With your permission, I am "stealing" your file and will tailor it to our squadron's realities. Thanks!!
Really well done! Thanks NIN.
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OldGuy
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 01:07:15 AM »



Also, as I said before, a lot of young people *heavily* oversubscribed these days.  They have a 7.9 grade point average in 17 AP classes, play 2-3 sports, they're in band, drama, 4H, volunteer for the church, feed the homeless on alternative Saturdays and in their copious spare time they lifeguard at the YMCA, taking college enrichment classes and Dale Carnegie for their resume, and have a side business doing astrophotography using hand-built pinhole cameras and homemade photographic paper.  Yikes.


Another reason to heavily market to all the homeschool covers in the area. Those kids usually have much more free time and are looking for 'out of the home' activities.
They are our largest demographic.
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Fester
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2018, 01:15:42 AM »

how do you find the homeschoolers?  how do you make that connection with them?
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etodd
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2018, 01:37:53 AM »

how do you find the homeschoolers?  how do you make that connection with them?

Are you still in Texas? If so:

https://www.thsc.org/home-school-resources/home-school-group-leader-support/find-a-local-home-school-group/
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Fester
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2018, 01:40:46 AM »

how do you find the homeschoolers?  how do you make that connection with them?

Are you still in Texas? If so:

https://www.thsc.org/home-school-resources/home-school-group-leader-support/find-a-local-home-school-group/

Thanks, but no.  But now I know what to Google!
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NIN
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2018, 11:04:24 AM »

For those looking for the document I alluded to in my original post, Jerry broke the attachment system  so I have to get creative.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D_5qjAQXqtWX4KRxgE_WlEnUE_0OKS0R/view?usp=sharing
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
NIN
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Posts: 5,025
Unit: of issue

« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2018, 11:04:47 AM »

They are our largest demographic.

Define.
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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NIN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,025
Unit: of issue

« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2018, 11:11:20 AM »

Yes, I've seen this ....

Mom brings her kid to his first meeting to check things out, and it happens to fall on drill night in full blues .... Mom freaks out thinking of her little 13 year old turning into a soldier and going to war. Her kid talked of aerospace, but she sees soldiers. She will try to get him interested in sports instead.

I've seen it too. It is what it is.

If mom's not onboard, you're out of luck. Doesn't matter if you're the Fuzzy Bunny Brigade or the Young Marines.

This is why there is a requirement to come to three meetings: to see more of the breadth and depth of the organization.

This is why successful "recruiting" isn't about jamming pamphlets at people and walking away, but instead providing a guided introduction to the organization.  This is part of the reason why the whole "Open House & Recruiting Night" works well: You present the organization to moms & dads bit by bit, using the language and messaging that is appropriate for your particular demographic and area. What works in Berkley, Michigan might not work in Berkeley, California.

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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 © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 1,573

« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 11:43:28 AM »

Yes, I've seen this ....

Mom brings her kid to his first meeting to check things out, and it happens to fall on drill night in full blues .... Mom freaks out thinking of her little 13 year old turning into a soldier and going to war. Her kid talked of aerospace, but she sees soldiers. She will try to get him interested in sports instead.

I've seen it too. It is what it is.

If mom's not onboard, you're out of luck. Doesn't matter if you're the Fuzzy Bunny Brigade or the Young Marines.

This is why there is a requirement to come to three meetings: to see more of the breadth and depth of the organization.

This is why successful "recruiting" isn't about jamming pamphlets at people and walking away, but instead providing a guided introduction to the organization.  This is part of the reason why the whole "Open House & Recruiting Night" works well: You present the organization to moms & dads bit by bit, using the language and messaging that is appropriate for your particular demographic and area. What works in Berkley, Michigan might not work in Berkeley, California.


I dunno, Sir. Open Houses do wonders in getting mass attention for a visit on a set date with a structured plan to introduce CAP to prospective recruits (both cadets and seniors). But I have seen them almost always either such a "phony" view of the weekly meeting or very minimal representation of "CAP life." For example, there is a station demonstrating a Color Guard, a station demonstrating the ELT, a flight simulator, etc. These are not the basis for most 2-3 hour meetings once per week, at least not on the scale usually represented. This is not to say Open Houses are not a strong tool for recruiting; they very much are. But they coincide with that need to visit those weekly meetings to really get a taste of CAP.

I strongly agree with that notion that pamphlets are used to go alongside a discussion and as material for people to take home and review based on the discussion they had with the recruiting staff. Nobody should ever be handed a pamphlet and made to walk away without ever having a face-to-face chat with CAP members.

Then again, this topic seems to be more in address to retention, not the recruiting side. Yes, recruiting begets retention. But there is still that need to strongly review the program conducted at the unit level and determine what activities the unit provides, to include both weekly training and weekend opportunities. The bulk of face time for most cadets and seniors in CAP is at their home unit during the weekly meeting. 45 minutes of drill each week for cadets or 2 hours of chat sessions with zero progress/development for seniors is a detriment to both retention and value of the program.

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OldGuy
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Posts: 513
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2018, 12:09:48 PM »

They are our largest demographic.

Define.
Anecdotally I am told HS students are our largest segment of cadets. Am in process of gathering data and will report results when complete. But of the last 6 months cadets entering that I know almost all have been either private or home schooled.
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Live2Learn
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Posts: 704

« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2018, 12:19:08 PM »

They are our largest demographic.

Define.
Anecdotally I am told HS students are our largest segment of cadets. Am in process of gathering data and will report results when complete. But of the last 6 months cadets entering that I know almost all have been either private or home schooled.

I have no data, merely anecdotal observations of two CAP sqdrns.  Both sqdrns fit the assertion of Home Schooled youth being a very large slice of the CAP cadet demographic.
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OldGuy
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Unit: TBKS

« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2018, 12:22:12 PM »

https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/media/cms/CopyofHomeschooledCadets_3C5DE2D95B_94FBCCA84E95D.pdf

http://www.home-school.com/Articles/how-to-become-a-civil-air-patrol-cadet.php

http://themommaknows.com/civil-air-patrol-and-homeschooling/

https://hslda.org/docs/BrightSpots/200610110.asp
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NIN
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2018, 12:23:03 PM »

I dunno, Sir. Open Houses do wonders in getting mass attention for a visit on a set date with a structured plan to introduce CAP to prospective recruits (both cadets and seniors). But I have seen them almost always either such a "phony" view of the weekly meeting or very minimal representation of "CAP life." For example, there is a station demonstrating a Color Guard, a station demonstrating the ELT, a flight simulator, etc. These are not the basis for most 2-3 hour meetings once per week, at least not on the scale usually represented. This is not to say Open Houses are not a strong tool for recruiting; they very much are. But they coincide with that need to visit those weekly meetings to really get a taste of CAP.

I will agree with you: its a bit of a set-piece.  But frankly, its putting your best foot forward and doing so in an organized, professional way. Not randomly and without any forethought.

My unit runs a pretty successful program like that. Twice a year we start a cohort with an Open House.  Lots of cool stuff.  But we try to be clear in what we show the prospective members that these are the things we do, but we don't do all of them at once.

And again, this speaks to "recruiting for the CAP you have, not the CAP you wish you had."

In 2013, when I was still retired from CAP, I decided to go to local squadron's Spring Open House with an eye to coming back. The unit had 2-3 cadets who were the "ES guys," and they were tasked to setup the "ES Table" for the event.   Let me see if I can embed a photo of that table that night...



OK yeah, ES displays can be a bit of a "junk on the bunk" style thing with all your hooah gear. I get it. Been there, done it.

But then I stood there to the side listening as these guys were regaling visitors with what CAP emergency services does. They made it sound like you'll join CAP today, and tomorrow you'll be rappelling out of helicopters, and you'll have a lifesaving award, maybe even two, by the end of the next week.

No real talk about training, or even how the reality was in my wing that we have pretty much almost no ground SAR mission.

It took some time to "fix" that particular thing. One night, I looked at the ES table as they were laying it out for the Open House, and I said "Guys, why are there five orange hats and two uniforms? What are these here for?"

"Sir, those uniforms demonstrate ES."

"Demonstrate ES?  How?  Two folded up uniforms and 5 orange hats demonstrate ES like my shoes here demonstrate drill team. You're not demonstrating *anything* with folded up uniforms and hats!"

Eventually, I had to tell them "OK, guys, you can do the ES table, but you have to become subject matter experts on disaster relief, communications, air SAR, UDF.." and they looked at me like I'd grown another head on my shoulders. I got them to run a small slideshow with photos and informational slides about ES on the table alongside a DF and some radios.

"You mean.. thats all part of ES?"

(I also had to say once "Tonight, you can't use the words 'Hawk Mountain' or 'Ranger' when you tell people about emergency services. Good luck."  LOL. Unfortunately, thats all they were about.)

You have to be sure you're realistic about what you portray.  The displays and such are an "attract," but its the "1 meter" recruiting that is what is ultimately going to get people to understand what CAP is and what it does.
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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NIN
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2018, 12:31:28 PM »

Anecdotally I am told HS students are our largest segment of cadets. Am in process of gathering data and will report results when complete. But of the last 6 months cadets entering that I know almost all have been either private or home schooled.

That may be the case in your neck of the woods, but is not the case nationally.

It is certainly true that the homeschool'd cadet segment is growing. But they are not the "majority" of our cadets.

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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OldGuy
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2018, 12:41:08 PM »

About one in 8 middle and HS students are in not government schools (private and HS), and that slice of the population continues to rise. The larger population of school aged kids is likely to shrink over the next decade.

See https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/table_whs_01.asp for private school data.
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OldGuy
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Unit: TBKS

« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2018, 12:44:35 PM »

Anecdotally I am told HS students are our largest segment of cadets. Am in process of gathering data and will report results when complete. But of the last 6 months cadets entering that I know almost all have been either private or home schooled.

That may be the case in your neck of the woods, but is not the case nationally.

It is certainly true that the homeschool'd cadet segment is growing. But they are not the "majority" of our cadets.
Not surprising.  But for such a small percentage of students (see below) they are significantly over represented in our local membership and probably yours as well.
Quote
The new report concludes that approximately 1,770,000 students are homeschooled in the United States—3.4% of the school-age population. NCES said that among children who were homeschooled, 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are black, and 4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander.Sep 3, 2013

More data at: http://www.capenet.org/facts.html
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OldGuy
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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2018, 12:45:55 PM »

I will bet you at least a small coffee that retention is much higher in HS student populations. More parental engagement, fewer "distractions" are both very real retention factors.

BTW getting an active "parents club" is part of my mid-term goal for our unit.
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TX CAP Mom
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Posts: 20

« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2018, 02:30:03 AM »

I will bet you at least a small coffee that retention is much higher in HS student populations. More parental engagement, fewer "distractions" are both very real retention factors.

BTW getting an active "parents club" is part of my mid-term goal for our unit.

Our squadron is heavy on the homeschoolers. But then, so is Texas. I'm a homeschool mom. I agree wholeheartedly about more parental engagement and fewer distractions. Even if a homeschool kid is in several activities, because they aren't at school until 5pm there are still hours in the day for CAP.

I wish we had a "parents club"! Hmmmmmm

As for where to find the homeschoolers, I would first take to Facebook. Your town probably has a Facebook group (or 7)  for the homeschoolers in your area. Google and FB search  "homeschooling in ________" and see what comes up.
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NIN
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2018, 05:15:48 PM »

They are our largest demographic.

Define.
Anecdotally I am told HS students are our largest segment of cadets.

By HS of course, you mean "Home Schooled" not "High School."

Because, generally, when you say "HS Student" anyplace in the US, you mean "High School."

Quote
Am in process of gathering data and will report results when complete. But of the last 6 months cadets entering that I know almost all have been either private or home schooled.

I'll save you some work:

Of the 15,548 cadets who have applied to CAP nationwide since the inception of the Online Application system, only 23.4% said they were home schooled.

Maybe you're seeing a higher number in your area (I'm not entirely sure what my number is but if I had to peg it, its 25-30%.. so yeah, higher as well), but nationally its less than 1 in 4.

 
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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 © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
etodd
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Posts: 1,323

« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2018, 06:24:34 PM »


Of the 15,548 cadets who have applied to CAP nationwide since the inception of the Online Application system, only 23.4% said they were home schooled.


Its all in your perspective. You say "only" 23.4 percent.  But I see that as a huge segment of our Cadets.  ;)

And a segment of the population of kids nationwide that hasn't been anywhere near fully marketed to. Huge room for growth there.
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OldGuy
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 513
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2018, 08:46:16 PM »

They are our largest demographic.

Define.
Anecdotally I am told HS students are our largest segment of cadets.

By HS of course, you mean "Home Schooled" not "High School."

Because, generally, when you say "HS Student" anyplace in the US, you mean "High School."

Quote
Am in process of gathering data and will report results when complete. But of the last 6 months cadets entering that I know almost all have been either private or home schooled.

I'll save you some work:

Of the 15,548 cadets who have applied to CAP nationwide since the inception of the Online Application system, only 23.4% said they were home schooled.

Maybe you're seeing a higher number in your area (I'm not entirely sure what my number is but if I had to peg it, its 25-30%.. so yeah, higher as well), but nationally its less than 1 in 4.
Yes in context that use of HS was HomeSchooled. And 23.4% is more than 12 time their representation in the larger population, so that is not big, it is HUUUGE! Further, I suspect that our penetration into that market segment is tiny, leaving us a giant room for growth.
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OldGuy
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 513
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2018, 08:46:41 PM »


Of the 15,548 cadets who have applied to CAP nationwide since the inception of the Online Application system, only 23.4% said they were home schooled.


Its all in your perspective. You say "only" 23.4 percent.  But I see that as a huge segment of our Cadets.  ;)

And a segment of the population of kids nationwide that hasn't been anywhere near fully marketed to. Huge room for growth there.
Exactly! I agree.
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: What contributes to the retention rate? (Split from The Command Chief thread)
 


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