Best Practices request: Collaboration & Meeting Planning

Started by Jester, May 20, 2020, 07:15:12 pm

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How are your units planning out their weekly meetings with regards to CP?  I'm trying to figure out a way to move this online where all stakeholders have access and can provide feedback before it gets locked in, and ideally it would be user-friendly for PhaseII/III/IV cadets to use as well.

I have some ideas but I don't want to put them out yet and accidentally influence input.


Colorado is running all its meetings on Microsoft Teams. Took some work by our IT folks on the front end, but it's been very successful overall.


I participated as an instructor for one unit for their ES night, which I though went well and
was well received, however word I'm hearing from the street is that cadets are getting tired
of this, it's not why they joined CAP, and what's the point?

I would imagine there is going to be significant attrition this Fall, which is when many cadets renew.

Will / would they come back if things normalize? Only time will tell.


Like Eclipse, I'm expecting attrition in our cadets and probably some of the Seniors also - too many missing faces each week.


We have been using Google Meet (will transition to Microsoft Teams soon as VAWG is going G Suite -> O365). Attendance is strong in that everyone is logging in and going to the correct Meet rooms, but it's hard to know how engaged they really are and if we'll see everybody back at the armory when the time comes. In some regards it's a lower barrier to entry, since the cadet doesn't need to leave their house.

We have had a decent number of cadet promotions during the pandemic, which means people are taking their online tests. VAWG just wrapped up a commander's challenge where they encouraged folks to complete quals that can be done entirely online. Here is a very encouraging snippet from our Wing King's email:

Quote from: undefined20 Yeager Awards earned
548 Cadet tests attempted
492 Cadet tests passed
1205 days of cadet PT (push ups and sit ups)
189 attended ES training
67 total GES, CAPT117s, FEMA, and FAA Wings completed
24 Seniors completed Level 1 or the academics for a specialty track rating
330 SM workshop completions
26 completed O365 training classes
2,721 days of walking or other exercise
In total, VAWG walked a total of 6,037 miles plus another 1,705 hours of other exercise.

That's pretty fantastic considering how difficult it is to keep everyone excited about CAP. Not listed in the challenge, we also have 45 senior members enrolled in virtual specialty track training, and we have mentors in about 10 different tracks helping people make progress on knowledge and service requirements that can be done w/o meeting in person. We're using Microsoft Teams for that as well.

Lastly, in my squadron we have 13 cadets working towards their cyber badge. I grade the dossiers over email and we are setting up regular Wednesday night sessions to work through the cyber activity guide. We're also going to host a virtual AFA CyberCamp in July.

Doing the best we can with what we have. We'll see what happens to retention in 2020-2021, but I expect it will not be pretty.


We had a good start with our transition into virtual operations. The senior cadre and cadet staff had a conference call the day after the news came out that we were going into suspension mode. We talked about how to boost virtual meetings and activities, and after a week, we were back up and running. It's been a little busy since we're still planning for late summer/fall, two conferences a week for some. We're doing "okay" with virtual squadron meetings, but there's only so much we can do. Not everyone has the same ability to connect. They can't all see the shared screen. They can't all follow along on their web browser and play games and navigate maps. It's a challenge in making a meeting something everyone can do. Someone always seems left out on the call. For the most part, it's good. But the longer it lasts, the less good it will become.

I think we have learned quite a bit as to how to stay engaged when there is a lack of in-person meetings. And even after we resume normal activities, we have some better mechanisms to meet virtually for staff calls and planning meetings.

But I agree that it's starting to fade. While we've become very routine, and many people have adapted well, it's just not the same. At some point, it's not fun anymore. It's not the program they signed up for. Where I think we're really going to struggle is that we're shifting from being the only interactive activity they had, aside from PS4 and YouTube, to places starting to open back up. The restaurants, gyms, pools, stores...they're all reopening. Yet, we're still limited on what we can do. We're going to lose the advantage that we had at the start.

I can't wait until we're back to in-person activities. We're really going to kick things up a notch.

But I'm standing by to standby. Nothing from Wing yet.