July 05, 2020, 06:49:39 pm

CAP Cadet Program versus BSA

Started by OldGuy, December 20, 2019, 02:54:23 pm

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OldGuy

CAP National Cadet Count: 27991 Units: 1,600 (approx.)

BSA Membership: 2,282,584 youth (2017); 99,814 units (2017)

A discussion from 56+ years ago here on Captalk - http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=17676.0

My question is this - how do we get our message out? How do we scale to grow as we should? Should we be lobbying for more paid staff? Looking for suggestions, not attacks, gripes, whines, etc.

Oh yes, Merry Christmas and thank you to each and every one of my fellow volunteer airmen!



jeders

From that other discussion:

Quote from: Eclipse on July 16, 2013, 04:18:39 pm...just as trying to compare the CGAux to CAP is pretty much a waste of time, so is comparing the BSA to CAP
If you are confident in you abilities and experience, whether someone else is impressed is irrelevant. - Eclipse

OldGuy

December 20, 2019, 05:45:17 pm #2 Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 05:50:26 pm by OldGuy
Quote from: jeders on December 20, 2019, 03:10:09 pm
From that other discussion:

Quote from: Eclipse on July 16, 2013, 04:18:39 pm...just as trying to compare the CGAux to CAP is pretty much a waste of time, so is comparing the BSA to CAP


I disagree. I was in the BSA and the cadet program. The question of "market penetration" is very relevant.

etodd

December 21, 2019, 02:43:58 am #3 Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 02:49:09 am by etodd
So many Boy Scouts start out as Cub Scouts.  BSA gets kids while they are young. Then its a natural progression from one to the other. Easier to keep them going toward that Eagle that they set their sights on it at age 8.

CAP starts at age 12, when puberty is happening and guys are getting sidetracked toward the cute girls in class. And middle school and high school sports, where the "cool guys" are showing their stuff to peers at school. LOL

Wearing military style uniforms and performing drills only appeals to a minority of middle school age kids these days. Hard to compete with BSA camping trips full of canoeing, rappelling, etc. etc. Sure you can mention airplanes and sailing, but once they join and see its a couple days out of a whole year if they're lucky, they leave. CAP simply cannot compete with the outdoor adventures of BSA. (If you're in a good, active troop.)

The list is endless. BSA is much more mainstream.  CAP appeals to a small subset of the population. You can create incredible advertising and marketing plans, but it will not change that fact.

And don't forget the parents who never allow their kid to visit, afraid they'll be pushed toward joining the military. Sure "we" know its just a small percentage who join up, but many parents don't want to see it encouraged at age 12.

We need to be happy with those we get, give them all we can, and not worry so much about competing.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

Kayll'b

That doesn't sound pessimistic at all.
C/1st Lt

Mitchell # 69847

Squadron Cadet Leadership officer

GCAC Recorder

OldGuy

Quote from: etodd on December 21, 2019, 02:43:58 am
So many Boy Scouts start out as Cub Scouts.  BSA gets kids while they are young. Then its a natural progression from one to the other. Easier to keep them going toward that Eagle that they set their sights on it at age 8.

Many of our cadets start out with the EAA program. Perhaps we should more aggressively work towards expanding our already robust (but nearly unknown) partnership with them?
Quote from: etodd on December 21, 2019, 02:43:58 am
Wearing military style uniforms and performing drills only appeals to a minority of middle school age kids these days. Hard to compete with BSA camping trips full of canoeing, rappelling, etc. etc. Sure you can mention airplanes and sailing, but once they join and see its a couple days out of a whole year if they're lucky, they leave. CAP simply cannot compete with the outdoor adventures of BSA. (If you're in a good, active troop.)

Our GTM program does a really great job of "competing" with that cohort, and our summer activities blow away the scouts.
Quote from: etodd on December 21, 2019, 02:43:58 am
We need to be happy with those we get, give them all we can, and not worry so much about competing.

Why? And as to your point that advertising and marketing does not work, sorry - no sale!

SarDragon

December 21, 2019, 06:30:49 pm #6 Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 06:45:18 pm by SarDragon
CAP doesn't have a recruiting problem, it has a RETENTION problem!

Every wing conference I've gone to has highlighted the same statistic - 50% of our cadet members are in their first year. FIFTY percent! If we could keep 10% of those for a second year, we would have a significant growth rate. We do really well at getting them in the door. We need to keep them in the room past their first expiration date.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

etodd

Quote from: OldGuy on December 31, 1974, 03:58:59 am

Our GTM program does a really great job of "competing" with that cohort, and our summer activities blow away the scouts.



I'll dare to say your Squadron is the exception, not the rule.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

etodd

Quote from: SarDragon on December 21, 2019, 06:30:49 pm
CAP doesn't have a recruiting problem, it has a RETENTION problem!



Totally agree. Our Program doesn't live up to the hype and excitement seen in the marketing and advertising we produce.  It gets them in the door, then they ... drill.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

PHall

Quote from: etodd on December 21, 2019, 08:53:29 pm
Quote from: SarDragon on December 21, 2019, 06:30:49 pm
CAP doesn't have a recruiting problem, it has a RETENTION problem!



Totally agree. Our Program doesn't live up to the hype and excitement seen in the marketing and advertising we produce.  It gets them in the door, then they ... drill.


50% retention of first year cadets has been the "norm" since the sixties and maybe even before that. (I know, I was there.)
We tell them up front that the CAP Cadet Program is not for everyone. Yet many still join just to drop out 3 to 6 months later.
Some of it is a not-so-great unit who's favorite time killer is drill and more drill.
Some of it is that CAP didn't fulfill their expectations.
Some of it is that their interests have changed.
And a lot of it these days is that the kid is "over scheduled" with school, after school activities and maybe sports teams and CAP was the easiest to eliminate.

JohhnyD

Quote from: etodd on December 21, 2019, 08:51:28 pm
Quote from: OldGuy on December 31, 1974, 03:58:59 am

Our GTM program does a really great job of "competing" with that cohort, and our summer activities blow away the scouts.



I'll dare to say your Squadron is the exception, not the rule.

Indeed. Now ask  yourself why?

JohhnyD

Quote from: SarDragon on December 21, 2019, 06:30:49 pm
CAP doesn't have a recruiting problem, it has a RETENTION problem!

Every wing conference I've gone to has highlighted the same statistic - 50% of our cadet members are in their first year. FIFTY percent! If we could keep 10% of those for a second year, we would have a significant growth rate. We do really well at getting them in the door. We need to keep them in the room past their first expiration date.

Cohort recruiting, Tango Flight training and great mentors can help - a lot.

Kayll'b

Quote from: OldGuy on December 21, 2019, 03:49:53 pm
and our summer activities blow away the scouts.


yeah, I have no idea why you say that the boy scout activities are better than ours.
C/1st Lt

Mitchell # 69847

Squadron Cadet Leadership officer

GCAC Recorder

Eclipse

December 22, 2019, 02:55:48 am #13 Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 03:00:25 am by Eclipse
^Agreed.

Further, they are much more plentiful, local, and generally focused on families and fun.

It's basically an expectation that a Scout will attend at least one week of camp a year,
much more then that if they are on the Eagle track.

In CAP, there is less then one (1) encampment per state per year, and I would hazard less then
1/2 the cadets probably, more like 1/3rd, go to an encampment or NCSA on any given year. The
encampment program as a whole can only handle about 20-25% of the total population of cadets,
regardless.

Also, the majority of CAP encampments and NCSAs include some level of discomfort, extra effort,
overcoming obstacles, and the dreaded Powerpoint presentations. On Monday eating chow in the
mess is "cool", "but by Wed it's old hat, Jason is touching my stuff, my Flt Sgt is 2 years younger then
me and keeps yelling, and other then the rockets tomorrow, we've done all the cool stuff already..."


BSA Camps are hotdogs, campfires, swimming, hiking, shooting, making baskets, welding, and generally
more fun then drudge, not to mention the ongoing searches for snipe.




JohhnyD

Quote from: Eclipse on December 22, 2019, 02:55:48 am
^Agreed.

Further, they are much more plentiful, local, and generally focused on families and fun.

It's basically an expectation that a Scout will attend at least one week of camp a year,
much more then that if they are on the Eagle track.

In CAP, there is less then one (1) encampment per state, and I would hazard less then
1/2 the cadets probably more like 1/3rd go to an encampment or NCSA on any given year.

Also, the majority of CAP encampments and NCSAs include some level of discomfort, extra effort,
overcoming obstacles, and the dreaded Powerpoint presentations.

BSA Camps are hotdogs, campfires, swimming, hiking, etc., etc.

So we remain a tiny, unknown well, secret? There is no hope, just sort of make do with the few dozen misfits that we find somehow?

Eclipse

No.

CAP needs to stop trying to be things it's not, or wishes it was, focus on its strengths, and quit wasting people's time.



JohhnyD

Quote from: Eclipse on December 22, 2019, 03:01:50 am
No.

CAP needs to stop trying to be things it's not or wishes it was, focus on its strengths, and quit wasting people's time.

How do we grow past .00025 percent of the population? Of the nearly 500,000 private pilots, we have what 10,000? 2%? Why? What should we do better?

etodd

Quote from: JohhnyD on December 22, 2019, 03:07:49 am

How do we grow past .00025 percent of the population? Of the nearly 500,000 private pilots, we have what 10,000? 2%? Why? What should we do better?


As PHall said:

We tell them up front that the CAP Cadet Program is not for everyone.


CAP is NOT mainstream. It will always be a small subset of the population. I know you think its the greatest thing since sliced bread and you feel everyone else should think so also ... but that just isn't reality.

Pilots?  You must not follow many aviation Facebook groups, or you would be seeing how often CAP gets discussed in a negative way. Pilots who join and then can't seem to join the good old boy club, and after 5 years of not getting their first F5, for whatever reason, quit.  Then spend time on Facebook every chance they get telling anyone who will listen, how bad CAP is.  This kind of social media negativity runs off more potential members than all the marketing we do brings in.

As I said up top, when it comes to teens, we will always be there for the small percentage of teens that find us interesting. But yes, we are the nerdy group. LOL
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

Spam

Quote from: Eclipse on December 22, 2019, 02:55:48 am
Also, the majority of CAP encampments and NCSAs include some level of discomfort, extra effort,
overcoming obstacles, and the dreaded Powerpoint presentations. On Monday eating chow in the
mess is "cool", "but by Wed it's old hat, Jason is touching my stuff, my Flt Sgt is 2 years younger then
me and keeps yelling, and other then the rockets tomorrow, we've done all the cool stuff already..."




So, basically, CAP Encampments are a glimpse of active duty life, huh?

;D

Mission... Accomplished!
- Spam



754837

This will be one of those "back in the good old days" "when I was a cadet" post.  I acknowledge that my memory might be somewhat distorted & I know I tend to remember the good and fun over the bad.

So with that... I started as a cadet in 1974 and the thing that made us different than Boy Scouts was we had a "real" mission - that being Emergency Services/Search & Rescue.   My pals and I were all ground team qualified and flight line qualified.  We had the opportunity to go on several actual SAR missions.  Our training was designed around the idea that we would be utilized for the real deal.  We studied the book The Hero Next Door like it was sacred text.   In our young teenage minds, this made us stand out from Boy Scouts because we were of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that our mission was much more important than that of the scouts.  In fact, calling a CAP cadet a "boy scout" was a significant insult.

Obviously this was long before the Cadet Protection Program, we were not "students", didn't play with model rockets but we participated in high risk activities like rappelling with limited senior member supervision.  We had opportunities to fly (get this... my small little squadron had two surplus USAF airplanes, a T-34 and a Cessna L19 Birddog!)    Yes, we were hazed some and we also hazed some (push ups, shouting and occasionally talking trash about someone's mother).  I am not saying any of this was wise or smart but that is the way it was.  In a small city of 25,000 we had about a dozen hardcore cadets that stayed with the program most to the Mitchell & a few to Earhart.   Post Vietnam, the military was unfairly unpopular.   CAP cadets as well as JROTC cadets, even though we not in the military, were harassed by other students but yet we still had a viable cadet program.

Things have changed due to poor judgement, accidents, occasional crimes, etc.  but for me and my buddies, it was great!  Some 45 years later, 7 of us are as close as brothers due to being CAP cadets & one of us even married a former cadet's sister (that would be me!).