July 05, 2020, 08:31:46 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!).     

JohhnyD

December 22, 2019, 09:53:09 pm #20 Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 11:04:56 pm by JohhnyD
Quote from: 754837 on December 22, 2019, 09:17:42 pm
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!).     

My CAPSN was 742NNN, I joined in 1973 and had the exact same experiences. I was also BSA and JROTC so I can comment on them as comparatives - and CAP wins in a grand slam.  What was true then and now is a failure to communicate the value of the program in any meaningful, public and mass-market fashion.

754837

You broke the code of my "secret identity"  I was not in BSA but was in Navy JROTC.

JohhnyD

Quote from: 754837 on December 22, 2019, 10:03:54 pm
You broke the code of my "secret identity"  I was not in BSA but was in Navy JROTC.

:)


PHall


SarDragon

Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

PHall


SarDragon

 :clap: Indeed! Guilty as charged!  :clap:
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

754837

Thanks - you guys are making me feel young!!!!

bd5av8r

A problem I've heard stated about CAP versus BSA is the "military" appearance of CAP. I've heard parents that had no issue with the military aspect, and Ive seen and heard administrators/parents/teachers that wanted NOTING to do with CAP and some of these have even asked me (no yelled at me) for "recruiting 12 year olds into the "army." :D and they were serious.

Then there is this: BSA has at least 1 troop in "anytown USA" CAP doesn't have that "luxury."

I hadn't even heard of CAP until 2002, Long after I was "cadet age" I did BSA to Eagle.
Greetings from SC!

1st Lt Thompson

My brother is heavily involved as a Troop leader for BSA, started in first grade and went through Eagle. I started in first grade and only stuck it out a year or two, but did Army JROTC for 3 years and CAP for 5 as a Cadet. BSA now starts at age 5 (Kindergarten) with Lions, so by the time kids get to be old enough for CAP they have been a part of BSA for 7 years. If they are the type of high speed members who will possibly push for Spaatz one day, they will more than likely stay in the program they have already dedicated years to and push for Eagle instead. BSA is much more laid back and doesn't have the military discipline, drill, pt, written tests and powerpoint presentations.

We will always be a niche organization, and a very small demographic will want to join CAP. As others have said, retention is where we need to focus our energy. Bring Cadets in with a reasonable expectation of what their first year will look like as a CAP Cadet, and then follow through to ensure it looks as close as possible to what is being promised. If you promise plenty of ES activities during recruiting, but your Squadron doesn't do ES activities, have a plan in place to get the Cadets to some training. If you promise lots of flight time but don't have access to a plane, partner with another Squadron or Group before the recruiting even to make sure there is a plan in place to make it happen. When you promise a high speed, low drag Cadet Program and then give them a year of drill and PT, there shouldn't be a surprise when they don't stay past the first year.

In my experience, BSA does a fair job of delivering on promises, and even small Troops have a decent amount of activities and opportunities, so we need to be doing the same.

1st Lt Matt Thompson
Historian, Assistant PAO

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 1 OCT 00 (#11401)

TheSkyHornet

^ Recruit the program you offer, not the program you want.

1st Lt Thompson

Or another way to look at it, is build the program you want to recruit for....the program recruits will actually want to join!
1st Lt Matt Thompson
Historian, Assistant PAO

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 1 OCT 00 (#11401)

Jester

Interesting that this popped back up today since their bankruptcy filing is in the news.

BSA Bankruptcy

NIN

Quote from: Jester on February 18, 2020, 04:56:27 pmInteresting that this popped back up today since their bankruptcy filing is in the news.

BSA Bankruptcy

Read that this morning. Bad juju for Scouting.

Maybe there's a good reason for CAP not to be 2M scouts and 20,000 units.

Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
Nothing posted on CAPTalk should be considered policy unless otherwise stated
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Jester

Quote from: NIN on February 18, 2020, 06:09:26 pm
Quote from: Jester on February 18, 2020, 04:56:27 pmInteresting that this popped back up today since their bankruptcy filing is in the news.

BSA Bankruptcy

Read that this morning. Bad juju for Scouting.

Maybe there's a good reason for CAP not to be 2M scouts and 20,000 units.



So does their size make adequate protection measures harder to enforce?  I don't know much of anything about the organization with the exception of being a cub scout 25+ years ago.

I'm not sure what their CPP "equivalent" is, what the adult entrance requirements are, etc since my kids aren't old enough to do Scouting yet.

FW

Quote from: NIN on February 18, 2020, 06:09:26 pmRead that this morning. Bad juju for Scouting.

Maybe there's a good reason for CAP not to be 2M scouts and 20,000 units.


We had some major issues back in the 90's culminating in a very good CPPT process.  All in all, I think we will never have the problems found in BSA.

Eclipse

Not that they need an apologist, but some issues around this might need to be brought
forward. As I've mentioned before, I was a Scout, as are my two sons, one who is an Eagle, and
the other who got his last Eagle sign-off completed literally yesterday.

The bankruptcy filing is strategic, intended to slow down a number of lawsuits that
allege abuse.  Published reports indicate the BSA is sitting on about $1.5B in assets
against about $500M in liabilities. It will also allow them to continue operations,
and potentially sets time limits on additional claimants.

Those same reports indicate that the Area Councils, which operate as separate business entities,
own another $3.3B in assets, so to my aged thread on comparing the organizations, as
well as comments in this thread, there simply is no comparison, from the perspective of
scale.  CAP operating budget is a rounding error compared to the BSA.

This came to a head in recent years because a number of states have changed their
statutes of limitations, allowing cases from 30 some years ago to be filed today.

These are from the same ERA as when CAP, and a number of other youth organizations, made significant
changes to their policies and training requirements for adult leaders.

Indications are that while this isn't' going to help recruiting, local Troop operations will
be largely unaffected.

As with any time you have kids who were part of benevolent organizations who had kids who
were neglected, abused, or worse, not only is it terrible for them to have been wronged by
the very people who they reached to for help, but it's also sad for the millions of
adults over the years who have done nothing but serve honorably who get besmirched by
the actions of a very small number of people.



Eclipse

Quote from: Jester on February 18, 2020, 07:05:28 pmI'm not sure what their CPP "equivalent" is, what the adult entrance requirements are, etc since my kids aren't old enough to do Scouting yet.

All "BSA Registered Leaders" must complete Youth Protection Training, and re-take it
every two years. https://www.scouting.org/training/adult/

In theory, any adult who would be chaperoning or otherwise supervising Scouts,
especially on overnights, is required to complete this.  It's akin to CAP's CPP -
an online set of presentations with some after-testing (as I recall).



baronet68

Quote from: FW on February 18, 2020, 07:08:29 pm
Quote from: NIN on February 18, 2020, 06:09:26 pmRead that this morning. Bad juju for Scouting.

Maybe there's a good reason for CAP not to be 2M scouts and 20,000 units.


We had some major issues back in the 90's culminating in a very good CPPT process.  All in all, I think we will never have the problems found in BSA.

When the cadet protection program first came to CAP, the training materials we used were those produced by the BSA. We've obviously gone on and built our own program from there but there's at least some shared lineage.
Michael Moore, Maj, CAP
National Recruiting & Retention Manager

GaryVC

Quote from: 754837 on December 22, 2019, 09:17:42 pm. . . didn't play with model rockets . . .

The CAP model rocket program was introduced in the 1960s.