Meeting idea: Retention Open House

Started by dwb, April 01, 2020, 12:30:38 pm

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


I was discussing this with a CAP Talk friend and he suggested I write this up, so here goes.

Every spring for the past few years, my squadron has done what we call a "Retention Open House". Typically it's on the 5th Tuesday in whichever spring month has a 5th meeting night (so if you're doing the math, we had ours last night).

Unlike a regular Open House, whose purpose is to attract new people to the organization, a Retention Open House is focused on people who are already members. The goal is to show new-ish members what opportunities are available to them over the next 12 months, and also to reach out to inactive members and try to spur their interest in participating again.

We typically have 5-6 stations that the cadets move between, and they learn about a specific activity or opportunity and how to get involved in the coming months. We had six stations yesterday:

  • Encampment
  • NCSAs
  • Cyber programs
  • Flying (o-rides -> Cadet Wings program)
  • Honor Guard
  • AE programs / STEM kits

Under normal circumstances, the stations are fixed around the armory and cadets move between stations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a virtual retention open house last night. The cadets stayed in their assigned Google Hangouts Meet room, and the presenters moved between the rooms every 15 minutes to brief their stations. We used slides and videos to present inside the Meet rooms, and took questions in the chat. Note that VAWG uses G Suite, so Meet is the most logical platform for this.

I want to pause here and say how impressed I am with our cadet staff. This is not how any of us want to do CAP, but they have really stepped up to make virtual meetings as engaging as a virtual meeting can possibly be.

Anyway, I think retention open houses are a great idea, and you can plan one even now in the middle of our massive experiment in online meetings1. My squadron is ginormous, but I think this concept would also scale well at the Group level for squadrons that are less ginormous. Although in-person meetings are ideal, I thought the presenters moving between Meet rooms worked really well. My cyber programs cadet OIC and I got into a pretty good rhythm by the end of it.

Thoughts from the CAP Talk peanut gallery?

1 I have coined the term DLU - Distance Learning Uniform - which for me is CAP polo shirt and pajama pants. Slippers optional. Meeting participants are none the wiser.


Quote... Anyway, I think retention open houses are a great idea ...

Yes it is. We need to implement something like that for Seniors as well.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot