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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Squadron Handbook
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cap0101
Newbie

Posts: 1

« on: July 25, 2018, 11:02:35 PM »

I am the Admin and Personnel Officer for my Composite Squadron. We are looking at trying to put together a Squadron Handbook. We want to have it as a welcome guide and to be a general guide for each duty position. Does anybody else have a Squadron Handbook?
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2018, 11:12:38 PM »

This could well fall into an OI, which has specific requirements for notification, retention, and even approval by
higher HQ in some cases.

Few units actually need this type of document and wind up just repeating what is already in national regs and
documents etc.

Welcome guides are one thing, and usually too general to be an issue, but anything that sets or canonizes policies,
SOPs, etc., needs to be reviewed with an eye towards inspections and whether it is worth the hassle.

Most unit staff positions should have continuity binders (electronic these days, of course, not physical binders),
and those don't usually fall under the general SOP / OI guidelines.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,533

« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2018, 09:37:48 AM »

Before you develop a handbook, you have to determine what it is that you are going to contain and who the audience is for each item (don't say "The Squadron"....to whom does this page apply?).

To Eclipse's point, be cautious as to how far you go with making an SOP packet into a OI. But there's nothing wrong with listing out processes for your staff selections, scheduling review boards, general guidelines for facility use, training schedules, etc.

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blombardo
Recruit

Posts: 17
Unit: NER-PA-007

Squadron 123 Group 6 PA
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 06:12:29 PM »

There is some fine print in creating new documents that must be followed and I do not have a reference link to describe what they are.

The General concept is that if you make any 'official' documents to be used in your squadron you must have them approved and a proper number assigned to them.

You can skirt this with specific wording and unique use - walking a fine line to make sure you do not get in trouble.  You will have to research that.


One of our cadets made such a book a few years ago.  It has gone through a few revisions over time.
FIRST - the new cadet kit has some helpful things.
SECOND - national has a few packages for both cadets - and senior members

THIRD - I'm personally working within our squadron to improve this for both cadets and senior members.


Here is a VIEW link to our squadron document.  Any of you are welcome to take pieces from it; and I also welcome feedback if someone things we could improve.   Our document is very lengthy and acts like a guide for a new member - to refer them to specific rules and regs at various points.

We go farther to cover various things that are not covered by any current rules; most detailed being our IT and Communications policy to reference our online presence in various places.



https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Zy3ig3vHWl9FGlm4x2hp9iNCxtX6-yaUrLD9exDPoA/edit?usp=sharing



In short time I will have a large packet of documents available for new cadet / new SR member kits.  These packets are still in the edit phase and I'm consolidating and looking for a few more things.. 

Being relatively new to the program I have a unique perspective on all the things that nobody told me... lol


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Sr Member Brian Lombardo, CAP
Squadron123, IT, PAO, Logistics
PA Group 6, Assistant IT
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 06:40:46 PM »

Good direction but it has some issues.

It needs to be reviewed in detail to insure the proper regulations are referenced - many of the CP
regs have been renumbered, and to the extent I looked through it, most are incorrect.

Suggest removed verbiage that is redundant to the regulations and refer to the regs.

Suggest removing references to "legal" and "moral" in various places, replacing with either
the regulation link or the verbiage of the applicable regulation.

Language needs to be reviewed for grammar and brevity.

You can skirt this with specific wording and unique use

As soon as you start using terms like this, you should reconsider the action. IGs don't have much
time for things that are borderline, they either "are" or "aren't", resulting in hard-to-close discrepancies
that many times result in abandoning the respective document, despite the hard work of the author(s),
and in turn many times resulting in bad feelings because they were turned in a direction that was unnecessary.

Also, as well-intentioned as these types of documents are, they are generally unnecessary,
rarely read, and go out of currency quickly, making them a hassle to keep current.

All new members should have a mentor, and that mentor(s) should able to guide them through
questions and getting started using existing NHQ resources.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 06:46:50 PM by Eclipse » Logged


blombardo
Recruit

Posts: 17
Unit: NER-PA-007

Squadron 123 Group 6 PA
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 10:27:47 PM »

I agree with everything you stated; and the highlighted text you pointed out is very important; I have heard of squadrons having issues because of this but I have not researched it or experienced it first hand. -- The closest I can find to the rules is the 'branding guidelines' that national has set up:

https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/members/cap-national-hq/public-affairs-about/resource-library/toolkit/branding-resource-guide/

National is re writing ALL documents; so now is the time to work on local levels and send things up the chain of command to get improvements made.  I would love for a National system that included everything that a local squadron needed; however that would include too many variables..

A very interesting page that includes many obsolete / not in print or new /custom documents is here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nJdzsoOKHP4W3OF8IXXj56N25cPYbV90lRAGvP1oVUY/mobilebasic
(supported by Retention Manager, Lt Col Darin Ninness, dninness@cap.gov )


Most useful to me was the "Membership packet materials intended for squadrons to use as a jumping off point  to create their own new member packets in the recruiting process. Featured in the May 2018 recruiting webinar  " Thanks to this source my squadron cadet pack has grown to about 15 custom documents - some are multi page.  My senior packet has almost as many pieces of custom documentation and I'm not done perfecting them...

-how does the local squadron handle uniforms? do members pay out of pocket? does the squadron pay 100%?  Are there discounted kits available? - big squadron policy needs typed up there...

-How does the squadron handle communications?  Email alone? cell phones / text messages ?  Remind app? how about the always growing list of chat systems that exist?  Will the squadron suggest or require members to use some platform over the other?

I believe documents like this are not only helpful - but MANDATORY for a small squadron to have on hand.  Without a large number of members trained to know how things work - you need something laid out to explain the basics of everything for those who want to know the deal.

As a new parent; having a document like this is the ONLY way they will have a clue about things...  there is no way that the average person is going to go to the national website and pour through all those pamphlets and regulations.

Our 'welcome guide' simply has a summary of every important topic that a parent or cadet needs to know and it includes a reference to where the full text is located online. -Those official documents (that are referenced) will be auto updated by national as they see fit- your local document will never need to be updated aside from once every few years if a document number changes or you think of something else important for people to know.

It would me nice if mentors existed properly in CAP... However - I know first hand -- sometimes they DONT...  I will not go into detail here but simply state this fact as I have experienced the program... I want to insure that any new member walking in off the street is given a PACKET with a solid list of everything they need to know laid out in black in white so they can go and self learn.

Nationals Website; though improving, is still missing information, has things in strange places buried deep in a labyrinth of clicks and when you do find something helpful - it may have a bad link and now you know the document exists.. but where is it?  (just reported another dead link a few hours ago)

With all the hats I'm wearing in my squadron - research I do, accounts and websites I set up - documents and things I find; they would all be lost and forgotten if I did not have a nice document to keep them all organized in for the entire squadron. There are many aspects of the program that national does not have time to lay out - nor does any SUI have the interest in looking at - yet some of those things are important for a squadron to have. Just imagine the huge list of internet sites that one must hold a presence on to remain relevant and attempt to recruit through... its daunting.   Sure you could have a squadron made 'IT' or 'PAO' document created to track all these sites; but I personally find a general squadron guide to be ideal.

I have not perfected our new member kit... so I'm interested to see what others hand out to new people...

1- a 'first persons -first visit' pack of materials including a welcome letter from the commander and general CAP info good for seniors or cadets
2- a 'you have actually joined' pack of materials including squadron specific info and links to future training aids. - different versions for seniors/cadets
3- the stuff national sends...

« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 10:36:49 PM by blombardo » Logged
Sr Member Brian Lombardo, CAP
Squadron123, IT, PAO, Logistics
PA Group 6, Assistant IT
Facebook Page-squadron123g6
Facebook Group -squadron123g6
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Squadron Handbook
 


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