Should encampment be required earlier than Mitchell?

Started by Jester, May 11, 2020, 10:22:04 pm

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Toad1168

Quote from: TheSkyHornet on May 14, 2020, 11:40:13 pm
Quote from: NIN on May 14, 2020, 08:07:55 pm
Quote from: Spaceman3750 on May 14, 2020, 07:49:36 pmUnpopular opinion: Is going for the experience such a bad thing? After all, the cadet program exists almost exclusively for the betterment of cadets, not the betterment of CAP. I get where you're going that if they're contributing OOS then they're not contributing locally, but they're still fulfilling their individual mandate to gain experience in leadership capacities, just not here.

My job as a DCP was the management of the wing's cadet program to ensure the betterment of ALL the cadets in the wing, not just ONE cadet. Or that some cadets got a better experience than others.

The "betterment of CAP" aspect should, in theory, contribute to the betterment of the cadets, ne c'est pas?

The cadet program of a wing is a lot of moving parts, not all of which want to be moved and some of which will move on their own. Encampment is one of those moving parts. Spending your wing's limited financial and human capital on providing your cadets with grade-, age- and experience-appropriate opportunities should be an overall goal of that program.

I spoke to a cadet earlier this year who was all excited to have attended something like 8 or 9 encampments in either 3 or 4 years. I scratched my head and said "You do know that when you hit 10 they don't give you a set of steak knives, right?" To this cadet, encampment was about his experience, not his subordinates. It was about his ability to go and have a good time with his friends in another state. It was not about the training, or the student's experience.

How does that square with the concept of "service before self."

I'm not here to create EncampmentWorld™ where you jet in, yell at a bunch of animatronic cadets for your own jollies then jet off to RangerWorld™ followed by two weeks at AirplaneWorld™.

ETA: My experience with cadets jetting all over the country was colored by another cadet who said (paraphrasing) "Some of my friends and I are staffing the  [midwestern wing] encampment. We're flying in from all over! I haven't seen [cadet from a far western wing] since last year."  That was where I coined the term "encampment tourist."  A barracks at an ANG base in some flyover state isn't your AirBnB for the week so you can go catch up and hang out with your buds from the west coast.

NIN, I complete agree.

Encampment is a learning experience, not a fun-club hobby activity. And that's the culture a lot of wings have when it comes to Encampment, including mine.

I see so many cadets that are encouraged over and over to attend Encampment, to where they're even forfeiting COS, NCSAs, and other great opportunities because Encampment falls on top of the calendar.

I've seen cadets go as a First Sergeant in one wing and as a First Sergeant in another wing several weeks apart. That's indicative of wanting to tour.

Interestingly enough, had a cadet apply for Group 1st Sgt from a distant wing.The cadet commander wanted him selected because he was the best candidate.  I questioned as to why this chief had not promoted in a year and why we would select him over a local applicant who was progressing.  Ultimately my reasoning swayed the cadet commander's opinion, and he was not chosen.  Then a couple weeks later, a wing in our region announced that same cadet was selected as their group 1st sergeant.  Definitely a tourist. 
Toad

NIN



Quote from: Spaceman3750 on May 15, 2020, 12:23:41 amI seem to have touched a nerve here. I didn't mean to, sorry. I was never suggesting that one cadet's experience be to the detriment of another. My statements were on the basis that the cadet was not displacing someone else, and that they were actually adding value wherever they were, not just there to catch up with friends. Maybe that's what you meant by "there for the trip", I didn't read it that way.

Nah, no nerve touched.

I saw an encampment run into a situation where, the year after several of the cadet exec staff were "out of towners" who all basically were "off to college in the fall" and doing their last encampment hurrah, they had basically no cadets staff with anything higher than flight commander experience. It was a little rocky.

Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
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Mitchell 1969

Quote from: Eclipse on May 14, 2020, 01:37:12 amIn my wing it looks to be somewhere between 30-50 cadets who could be eligible for a Mitchell waiver
and wind up in a student flight before they make their Earhart.
Offer a deal. Go to the encampment starting DATE at LOCATION and we will put all of the "Officer students" into the same flight. Put a cadet captain as flight commander, treat them according to their grade without lowering the standards.


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_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.

Eclipse

So...we just build an honor flight and tell the rest not to bother?

Not to mention that regardless of the impact, few wings will have enough waivered cadets at a given encampment
to comprise an entire flight, nor enough C/Capts in the Wing to be using them as Flt CCs (assuming they
were interested in the idea). C/Capts should be running Squadrons not flights.

The problem...ahem...challenge...is this isn't going to to be a "one-time-hit" where
all the waivers are collected into a single session, this is going to dribble out for a number of years,
and that's assuming, today, that the waiver isn't extended past 2021, which IMHO is likely.



Mitchell 1969

Quote from: Eclipse on May 15, 2020, 11:40:06 pmSo...we just build an honor flight and tell the rest not to bother?

Not to mention that regardless of the impact, few wings will have enough waivered cadets at a given encampment
to comprise an entire flight, nor enough C/Capts in the Wing to be using them as Flt CCs (assuming they
were interested in the idea). C/Capts should be running Squadrons not flights.

The problem...ahem...challenge...is this isn't going to to be a "one-time-hit" where
all the waivers are collected into a single session, this is going to dribble out for a number of years,
and that's assuming, today, that the waiver isn't extended past 2021, which IMHO is likely.
I never said call them "honor flight." I doubt that many of them would even be interested in that anyway.

And you've got a Wing where there aren't enough C/Captains to spare one to be a flight commander, but you have enough squadrons for every C/Captain to command one?

Hey, don't like the idea, don't do it. I don't care.


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_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.

Eclipse

Quote from: Mitchell 1969 on May 17, 2020, 05:29:13 amI never said call them "honor flight." I doubt that many of them would even be interested in that anyway.

Obviously - but if you stack up all the waivered cadets officers into one flight, that flight will
invariably be the honor flight, it's already an issue when the flights get top-heavy will older NCOs.

And as to "not interested", I don't know where you would get that assumption, because it's at the forefront
of just about every cadet's mind the whole activity. Honor Flight is a big deal.

Quote from: Mitchell 1969 on May 17, 2020, 05:29:13 amAnd you've got a Wing where there aren't enough C/Captains to spare one to be a flight commander, but you have enough squadrons for every C/Captain to command one?

Yes - this is called "CAP Today".  Many wings can't even get enough Phase IV cadets to staff their Big-3, let alone downstream for the line, and their career is just as perishable as the new cadets, meaning they get one shot at the job they are looking for, and probably already served as a CF at least once, if not more.



Jester

Quote from: Eclipse on May 17, 2020, 02:51:07 pm
Quote from: Mitchell 1969 on May 17, 2020, 05:29:13 amI never said call them "honor flight." I doubt that many of them would even be interested in that anyway.

Obviously - but if you stack up all the waivered cadets officers into one flight, that flight will
invariably be the honor flight, it's already an issue when the flights get top-heavy will older NCOs.

And as to "not interested", I don't know where you would get that assumption, because it's at the forefront
of just about every cadet's mind the whole activity. Honor Flight is a big deal.

Quote from: Mitchell 1969 on May 17, 2020, 05:29:13 amAnd you've got a Wing where there aren't enough C/Captains to spare one to be a flight commander, but you have enough squadrons for every C/Captain to command one?

Yes - this is called "CAP Today".  Many wings can't even get enough Phase IV cadets to staff their Big-3, let alone downstream for the line, and their career is just as perishable as the new cadets, meaning they get one shot at the job they are looking for, and probably already served as a CF at least once, if not more.

I'd probably either put them in as some kind of student leader (like a "rope" in AF tech school) and spread-load them across all flights.  I already make sure I stack the random C/CMSgt students into flights where they don't outrank their cadre.  This is going to require flexibility on our part for the next couple of years for sure.

As far as lack of Phase IV cadets, totally agree.  I get that the mesh gets tighter after the Mitchell and numerous factors are weeding them out past Earhart, but it's a little crazy that they're so rare.

As a callback to maybe giving SMs that are at the tactical level of CP the same kind of input opportunity the NCAC gets: within the past week, 3 products were dropped onto the Proving Ground (which doesn't get used enough and I'd like some evidence that our feedback is ever used).  One of them is a project to boost Curry achievement rates. 

HUH?  Curry requires the ability to fog a mirror, why are we spending time on this instead of trying to boost Mitchell, Earhart, and Eaker (I don't really care about Spaatz)?

Eclipse

Quote from: Jester on May 17, 2020, 07:04:04 pmHUH?  Curry requires the ability to fog a mirror, why are we spending time on this instead of trying to boost Mitchell, Earhart, and Eaker (I don't really care about Spaatz)?

100% agree - they've already removed PT as a barrier and give a free uniform for the
achievement.  Retention focus needs to be at the mid-point.



Kayll'b

May 21, 2020, 07:44:14 pm #68 Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 07:50:28 pm by Kayll'b
On the topic of out of state cadets.

I see where you all are coming from. Encampment tourism is one of the lamest ideas ever. Likewise when cadets staff encampment to hang out with friends. However, that doesn't mean staffing another wing's encampment is bad.

For example, I want to staff multiple encampments per year so that I can train and mentor cadets, as encampment is one of the best places to do that. This year I applied to two out of state encampments, but not my own because it overlapped with COS. Not only am I going to be able to serve cadets at these encampments, but I am also going to get(and give) new perspectives from the other wings. This is an awesome way to create great encampments! We can have more diversity, which we all know is good.

I still see your point of turning down local cadets for out of state cadets can be bad. And obviously you should be giving them positions that will challenge them.

And on the encampment tourism, there is a difference between tourism, and synergy. yes, it's bad if cadets just want to hang with their friends. But on the flip side, knowing and working with these cadets from across the country can be so inspiring. It brings the fact that we are one civil air patrol working TOGETHER to inspire the next generation of leaders.

P.S a senior CAC wouldn't make any sense because the CAC is a council made up of cadets to inform and advice the (insert echelon here) commander. The idea is that the cadets can still get their ideas on training to the commander because they're the ones being trained.
C/1st Lt

Mitchell # 69847

Squadron Cadet Leadership officer

GCAC Recorder

Eclipse

Here's the issue - standardized training is the antithesis of "diversity" in this context.

You don't want diversity in your training, methods, or execution, you want standardization
which is something sorely lacking in CAP, especially the encampment program.

I buy the argument that some diversity in opinion during the planning phase is useful, but only
in regards to venue-specific challenges, and cadets (or seniors), who have "never been there before and
aren't coming back" don't bring a lot of value to the table this regard.

It's an eye-opening experience for the Big-3 every year to see just exactly what it takes to
put on a show like an encampment in Dad's barn - that's part of their training, which they can
then use going forward, but a cadet who wants to fly across 5 time zones just to stand in front of
another room means time needs to be wasted on the "getting started" manual for that venue, versus
cadets who have participated for several years in progressively more important roles, and have seen first hand what works and doesn't.



TheSkyHornet

Totally with you there, Eclipse.

Training needs to be standardized. The activity experience may vary.

Not every Wing can provide the same facility/accommodations. They can't all provide the same activities. But as far as the cadet-focused training goes...the drill, the courtesies, the culture...all of that should be the same.

There was a good point made in a previous post about cadets going off to college who want to get their last encampment "hurrah" in. That ties in with the issue of cadets who see encampment as a time to show themselves off; a time to be in charge. That's all nonsense.

The culture of encampment cadre needs to be about training, and that's it. The training that they provide first-timers, and the training that they as cadre are receiving.

Toad1168

I have worked hard to push promotions in the wing over the past few years.  This was after seeing a lack of Phase IV cadets and many sitting on a grade and never promoting.  I attached promotion requirements to position selection across all programs in the Wing and turned cadets down that didn't meet it. Now, before people jump, the requirement has been three advancements in the past year, nothing extreme.  What has happened is that more and more Phase IV cadets are emerging and competition in the Wing is growing.  This year, if we are able to get it in, has a real possibility that the top three at encampment will be Spaatz cadets.  And all from Missouri.

The key to getting cadets to promote is to generate excitement and healthy competition.  And then reward those accomplishments.  This is the philosophy that hly my DCP had when I was a cadet and it worked.  I have adopted it and tried to expand it.  But I can say it works.  Don't let cadets sit idle.  Get involved and push them.  If you do that, you will have the cadre for your encampment and won't need to bring in travelling cadets.

I'm not going to totally down the idea of encampment tourism, but you have to be careful.  If you are constantly filling positions, especially the highly sought after ones, with cadets from other wings you risk creating a mindset of why promote and apply, I won't get selected anyway.  Build your cadre from within.  But that building process is continuous, not just at selection time.

Toad
Toad

Eclipse

Three in a year might be much for a Phase IV cadet, but in there is a discussion on what is appropriate.

I think we could all agree that at least one in the calendar year preceding the actual activity is reasonable,
regardless of the position they want.

There are always edge cases, but on the mean it sets a terrible precedent to be setting someone
as an example to aspire to when they aren't upholding the oath themselves.