October 24, 2020, 03:24:15 pm

Meeting Ideas (Especially Virtual)

Started by JC004, June 20, 2020, 03:39:23 am

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June 20, 2020, 03:39:23 am Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 12:14:27 pm by JC004
It could help a lot of units to see us compile some meeting topic ideas, and interactive activities or games for those meetings.

Has anyone here done a virtual meeting/training combined with another squadron (or at least opened your virtual meeting to members from other units to participate)?

It'd be great if members could share apps, games, etc. they've used for virtual meetings.  Example: Zello app for simulating Push To Talk radios, for communications training.

Any success stories about running Tabletop Exercises (TTXs) virtually?

Ideas for the first few meeting topics/activities for the first non-virtual meetings when your unit is back-in-person.

Virtual GROUP activities?  (possibly using several break-out groups for units with enough attendees)

CAP guest speakers, or distinguished visitors?  OOOOR guest speakers from OUTSIDE CAP?

Any thoughts on keeping this all interesting for cadets, since it's a VERY different experience than they signed up for?

Thoughts/ideas?  Successes?  Failures?

Here are some of OUR ideas to meet our local unit needs:

- General Emergency Services and Incident Command System (ICS) 100 Class and Refresher, including "Emergency Services Qualifications and Training Opportunities"

- Urban Direction Finding Team (UDFT) Training (Possibility of opening this training to ALL of CAP)

- Ground Team Member (GTM) Class (select topics)

- Introductory Communications User Training (ICUT) - both for new members and as a refresher, using a free cell phone app (Zello Push-to-Talk (PTT) Mobile App) to simulate Push To Talk radios

- Mission Radio Operator (MRO) training with practice as in the above class (instruction and evaluation assisted by CADET Comm Officer) (with virtual/distance practice with Push to Talk radio simulation, using the free Zello app)

- Uniform class - maintenance, proper uniform configuration, appearance standards, and LOTS of tips and tricks

- (MAYBE) Knife and cutting tool safety and use (I usually prefer to teach this class in-person with safe hands-on handling and practice, and the use of training knives (beginning with rubber knives/folding knives without sharpened edges) (example training knives: HERE; HERE; HERE)

- "How to Get the Most from Your CAP Cadet Program Experience"

- Congressional Medal of Honor Society Character seminar

- "Earning Cadet Badges" - this brief class usually includes how cadets can earn the STEM badge, Cyber badge, Communications Badges (all 3 levels of the badge that cadets are eligible for) (and associated comm patch for the BDU/ABU), Information Technology Badge, Historian Badge, Emergency Service Badge, Model Rocketry and Marksmanship Badges

- Table-top Emergency Services exercise (virtual)

- Cadet (and possibly SM) Admin Workshop - a workshop updating of paperwork for all members, including processing and approval of ribbons and badges earned, identifying items they may have earned or started to earn (like the Community Service Ribbon), and helping the cadets move forward with those items

- Cadet (and possibly SM) CAP Goals Workshop with goal-setting for everyone, a questionnaire on activities they would like to see (virtually and in-person...when authorized), discussion of personal goals and opportunities for ES ratings, Cadet Special Activities, badges to earn, ribbons to earn (like the Community Service Ribbon), etc.  Including individualized CAP and life goal roadmaps for each cadet (to be reviewed by SMs to tell us where we can improve as a unit, how we can help/mentor, etc.)
List of activities they would like to see locally (virtually and in-person when authorized), discussion of personal goals and opportunities for ES ratings, badges to earn, ribbons to earn (like the Community Service Ribbon), etc. 
Individualized CAP and life goals roadmap for each cadet.
Include Activities Wish List for 2021-2022.  '
Related Cadet GROUP Activity: Given guidance in the unit Cadet Activity Planning Guide, determine the cadets' desired draft schedule and training plan for 2021-2022.  The finished group project must meet contact hours requirements issued by NHQ.

- Introduction to Astronomy and Astronomy-at-Home Seminar - in cooperation with the state astronomical society (and beginning an ongoing partnership with the society)

- Public Speaking practice for cadets - short, graded speeches
(Topic options include:
- "My Goals in the CAP Cadet Program"
- My Recruiting "Elevator Pitch" )

- Virtual ELT Hunt Practice Game

- Civics/Citizenship Topics of the Month:
June:  U.S. Flag Code / Flag Etiquette
July:  Founding of the United States - Independence Day (July 4)
Sept: Constitution Day / U.S. Constitution

- Sign-up for Virtual Training Offered by Other CAP Units

- Senior Cadet NCOs: Mitchell Exam Prep Study Group (if desired by cadets) (virtual group outside regular meeting with Cadet Programs staff and at least one Cadet Officer)

- SENIOR STAFF MEETING:  Briefing by PDO on the new CAP Education and Training Program for Senior Members

- SENIOR STAFF MEETING: Finance Committee Meeting



- "Fire-building Practice In Your Own Living Room" (OK, maybe we WON'T do that one)

- High-angle Rescue and Repelling Practice from Your Parents' Roof

- Front-Yard Marksmanship Qualification Course

Dad Jokes

We have been doing a majority of what you have listed with great success. 

However as this drags out, we are starting to see burn out on doing virtual meetings so we are trying to mix things up a bit.

One thing we just started a week or so ago was designing rockets via CAD.  The cadets split into groups of about 5 and go into teams in breakout rooms where they work together to design the rocket they will be 3D printing.  Cadets are paired with a more senior cadet who has access to both CAD software and a 3D printer.

The intent is to fly them once meetings go back to normal.

I have been trying to set up some virtual tours of interesting places / factories and things like that but those all seem to fall apart for one reason or another.


What about a virtual social hour? Camaraderie and fun are part of the cadet program. Since you've been dutifully grinding on educational material, how about a trivia night? Kahoot is free and a lot of your cadets may have used it in school.

Or Flight Feud, in the style of Family Feud (or Element Feud depending on how many cadets you have)? There are free online FF boards you can use.

Or a Guess Who style game, where you have cadets fill out a survey of serious and not-so-serious questions, then put the answers on the screen without revealing names and see who can guess which answers belong to which cadets.

It has been extraordinarily challenging to keep members engaged, cadets and seniors alike. It's not bad to have some fun meeting nights, even more than you usually would. It doesn't all have to be hitting the books.


Capt Thompson

Once your Wing is in Phase I (if it isn't already), I don't see any reason you couldn't do a rocket launch with 10 or less people. If you have more than that, do it in two separate groups at two separate times to keep the numbers low. Ask the cadets what worked and what didn't, have them make corrections and improvements to the design, then schedule another launch. Incorporate this into the existing rocketry program and help them earn a badge.

We are in Phase I and should be in Phase II any day now, so we are starting ground team training back up. We've been covering a lot of the material through Zoom, and then will do task signoffs in person with 10 or less members this weekend, and have an approved training mission number for Saturday afternoon. It will be small scale compared to what we would normally do, but it's something to help get a few cadets out of the house to keep them engaged.

Does your Squadron have any comm equipment? It's easy to do a comm exercise while social distancing. Maj Colgan also mentioned there are PTT walkie talkie apps you can get for cell phones that could be used to train comms from home during a Zoom meeting.

What about a fitness challenge? You've seen CAP Walks to Mars? What about "Anytown Composite Squadron walks to [some cool destination]." Have the flights to compete to see who can log the most miles. Maybe reach out to neighboring Squadrons for some friendly competition. Beating the Squadron in the next town over is always motivating. This can be done completely virtual with cadets logging activities they do throughout the week.

Capt Matt Thompson
Deputy Commander for Cadets, Historian, Public Affairs Officer

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

Dad Jokes

I agree, "fun nights" we have been throwing in also.  About the only thing we hadn't thought of was using a PTT app, that's genius btw.

We also kept busy with missions related to the virus.  That helped keep everyone going as well.  We're not in a crisis mode by any means but you can start to see the "meh" showing up.  Just trying to stay ahead of it in case this ends up getting worse and we have a few more months away from each other.  Plan for the worst, hope for the best.