Will COVID-19 destroy the cadet program?

Started by 754837, August 27, 2020, 03:49:20 pm

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CAPJOE

Quote from: JohhnyD on August 27, 2020, 07:07:21 pmOur unit is up over 30% year over year, new cadets, new SM and new NCOs. Action matters.

In the last 8 weeks our unit has gained 4 seniors and 3 cadets. We haven't been over 30 members total in the last 3 years, to my best recollection. As of 1 August we were down to 20 active seniors and 4 cadets. As of today we are at 23 seniors with 1 getting their Form 12 next week and 1 more in 2 weeks. We will be up to 7 cadets by 1 September.
We also started online virtual meetings within 2 weeks of going into Phase 0 in March. In my opinion that is what kept the active members active and recruiting same as usual.

JohhnyD

Quote from: CAPJOE on August 28, 2020, 07:20:08 am
Quote from: JohhnyD on August 27, 2020, 07:07:21 pmOur unit is up over 30% year over year, new cadets, new SM and new NCOs. Action matters.

In the last 8 weeks our unit has gained 4 seniors and 3 cadets. We haven't been over 30 members total in the last 3 years, to my best recollection. As of 1 August we were down to 20 active seniors and 4 cadets. As of today we are at 23 seniors with 1 getting their Form 12 next week and 1 more in 2 weeks. We will be up to 7 cadets by 1 September.
We also started online virtual meetings within 2 weeks of going into Phase 0 in March. In my opinion that is what kept the active members active and recruiting same as usual.
Good job Joe! Now get your CC and PAO out in the community! We do that the last Tuesday of every month now and we are getting WOW results!

Capt Thompson

The one thing I keep hoping is that, even though we will lose a percentage of our membership, so will almost every other youth organization in the Country, and those displaced members will want to find something new. If we lose 5 or 6 Cadets from our Squadron, could we pick up 5 or 6 displaced Cadets from the Young Marines, Sea Cadets, Boy Scouts etc.? Many kids leave one extracurricular activity and then look for another, and we can hopefully be that activity they go to.
Capt Matt Thompson
Deputy Commander for Cadets, Historian, Public Affairs Officer

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

TheSkyHornet

Quote from: Eclipse on August 27, 2020, 09:51:00 pm
Quote from: TheSkyHornet on August 27, 2020, 09:05:53 pmNow that we're actively running promotion reports in eServices,

Without putting too fine a point on it, why is this only happening now?

Because I'm actually doing it, and looking at it for the entire Wing. I'm also reporting the information up the chain and talking regularly to my team about it.

The units that I have reached out to with issues continue to have issues. And their responses were relatively benign if not ignorant to the fact that the program didn't just disappear in March. That tells me that there was a gap long before COVID-19 in the performance management of their unit.




TheSkyHornet

Quote from: Capt Thompson on August 28, 2020, 01:05:31 pmThe one thing I keep hoping is that, even though we will lose a percentage of our membership, so will almost every other youth organization in the Country, and those displaced members will want to find something new. If we lose 5 or 6 Cadets from our Squadron, could we pick up 5 or 6 displaced Cadets from the Young Marines, Sea Cadets, Boy Scouts etc.? Many kids leave one extracurricular activity and then look for another, and we can hopefully be that activity they go to.

That's an very risky approach to take. And it's not true.

There are a lot of local youth activities that are still going on. Many "reopened" as soon as their states permitted. Many don't have national-level red tape. In my state, summer camps, sports, recreation centers, church groups, and youth clubs have all been meeting for most of summer. Sure, there are some limitations still in place (face masks, social distancing, gathering numbers), but they're not shut down and haven't been for quite some time.

We're way more delayed in opening than many of the alternative options in our locale.


Capt Thompson

Quote from: TheSkyHornet on August 28, 2020, 02:27:32 pm
Quote from: Capt Thompson on August 28, 2020, 01:05:31 pmThe one thing I keep hoping is that, even though we will lose a percentage of our membership, so will almost every other youth organization in the Country, and those displaced members will want to find something new. If we lose 5 or 6 Cadets from our Squadron, could we pick up 5 or 6 displaced Cadets from the Young Marines, Sea Cadets, Boy Scouts etc.? Many kids leave one extracurricular activity and then look for another, and we can hopefully be that activity they go to.

That's an very risky approach to take. And it's not true.

There are a lot of local youth activities that are still going on. Many "reopened" as soon as their states permitted. Many don't have national-level red tape. In my state, summer camps, sports, recreation centers, church groups, and youth clubs have all been meeting for most of summer. Sure, there are some limitations still in place (face masks, social distancing, gathering numbers), but they're not shut down and haven't been for quite some time.

We're way more delayed in opening than many of the alternative options in our locale.


I know around here, Boy Scouts pretty much went silent for the summer, I know a few Scout leaders that tried the Zoom thing without being able to get many of their Scouts to take part. Pretty much every organization in this area was in the same boat as we were. With the restrictions put in place by the Governor, it was nearly impossible for any youth org to meet at all.

I think larger Squadrons will be able to reach out and recruit to fill the numbers back in quickly if this thing only lasts this year. If we go back to Phase 0 in the Winter though and stay closed into next Summer, it's a whole other story. Smaller units with only 2 Seniors and 3 Cadets may be gone for good as Eclipse pointed out.
Capt Matt Thompson
Deputy Commander for Cadets, Historian, Public Affairs Officer

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

TheSkyHornet

Quote from: Capt Thompson on August 28, 2020, 02:48:31 pmI know around here, Boy Scouts pretty much went silent for the summer, I know a few Scout leaders that tried the Zoom thing without being able to get many of their Scouts to take part. Pretty much every organization in this area was in the same boat as we were. With the restrictions put in place by the Governor, it was nearly impossible for any youth org to meet at all.

But again, that's a national-level organization. And you have state orders that vary.

In our state, we were not really shutdown internally for all that long. We reopened relatively quickly with some restrictions. We've been able to gather, go to restaurants, go to the gym, all of the "usual things" with some added rules for a while. But we're still Phase 0 in CAP.

QuoteI think larger Squadrons will be able to reach out and recruit to fill the numbers back in quickly if this thing only lasts this year. If we go back to Phase 0 in the Winter though and stay closed into next Summer, it's a whole other story. Smaller units with only 2 Seniors and 3 Cadets may be gone for good as Eclipse pointed out.

I completely agree with you there.

But we've always seen small units of five people on the risk of closing at any time. You can't run an effective program that way. It's not fun, and it doesn't recruit the numbers needed to be very productive. There's no leadership program when there are three cadets in the room. So, yes, closing up until next summer is a death warrant for that unit. But that unit was on the verge of collapse anyway. Maybe COVID-19 took away their fighting chance, but it was a long shot to begin with.

Where I'm seeing the collapse is just the comparison to other activities that they can do. And with schools starting back on in-person, we're going to be even more doomed as an organization.

This might be one of those things where we really need to start grass rooting our remobilization. I'm in a yellow state with several orange counties and a couple of red counties. Do we really need to keep the entire state/Wing closed?

If the concern is that units won't follow the rules, maybe it's time to start seriously addressing those unit commanders and stop with the email reminders of the policy.

Cadet_Prenaveau

I hope but we have lost over 80% of our cadets


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C/CMSgt Prenaveau

Eclipse

August 28, 2020, 05:53:51 pm #28 Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 06:26:51 pm by Eclipse
Quote from: Capt Thompson on August 28, 2020, 02:48:31 pmI know around here, Boy Scouts pretty much went silent for the summer

Yep - we barely got our two through the last steps of Eagle on fumes, and it was only
because the work had essentially been done and all we had to do was bulldog the
committees to hold their boards, etc., virtually (and even THAT was a push).

But week-to-week.  Very little, and even less Scout related - lots of "sparkling" and
candy hand-throughs, and not much related to being a Scout.

Kids join these orgs to do "stuff" - Scouts want to camp and tromp in the woods,
12 year olds join CAP to play Army and by the time they are 15 are looking for the
leadership labs to take them into "next".  The last thing they want is more time
on a screen (unless it's Fortnite).

Home-schoolers and grass-roots efforts?

They weren't the saviors of CAP before and won't be now. If they were they already would be.



Spam

Quote from: Eclipse on August 28, 2020, 05:53:51 pmBut week-to-week.  Very little, and even less Scout related - lots of "sparkling" and
candy hand-throughs, and not much related to being a Scout.

Sir, sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!

;D

V/r
Donnie "Spam" Darko

Eclipse




NIN

August 29, 2020, 01:24:58 am #31 Last Edit: August 29, 2020, 01:35:24 am by NIN Reason: Reference in the text
WRT Homeschool efforts:

Homeschoolers represent approximately 3.5% of the student population of the United States.[1]

In Civil Air Patrol, over 23% of cadets report they are homeschooled on their membership application.

I kind of think that 1/4 of the CP being homeschooled means that we're doing an pretty decent job of reaching the homeschool community.  To the point where there's probably not a gigantic burning need to go out of your way to do much more than you're already doing in normal recruiting to access homeschoolers. (I could be wrong, and certainly don't stop recruiting homeschoolers, but its not like homeschoolers are underrepresented in CAP).

Now, to the question of whether COVID will kill the cadet program?

- I think COVID will kill the cadet program in some areas. Got a unit in your wing thats one of those "barely hanging on by their fingernails every year come charter review time" units?  Yeah, COVID-19 is stomping all over those fingernails. They're probably going to have less than half the number of cadets required to maintain a chartered unit come February.

- With the loss of a CAP unit in those areas (ie. the unit just basically dissolves into nothing), it will take literally years (5 or more) to regain footprint elsewhere to make up for that.  You lose a CAP unit in a small town, you've lost the seedcorn or the kernel of activity that was there.  Now, "replanting" CAP (to continue on with the "corn" metaphor) in those places will be several times more difficult.

- CAP experienced a massive loss in its cadet program twice previously in our existence.

The first was in 1956, when the CP went from 50,547 at the end of 1955 to 36,545 at the end of 1956. A loss of 28%.  The second was in 1967, when we lost 30% of our cadet strength from our starting strength. 

Why did these things happen?  The 1956 loss could be attributed to a new cadet program that was laid out at that time.  The Korean War was over, so it wasn't that. 

The 1967 loss is often attributed to the war in Vietnam, but I think it was something else that contributed: the "timing out" of cadets who no longer grandfathered from the "old" cadet program to the 1964 Jack V. Sorenson cadet program. When the program changed in 1964, there was probably a phase-in period, and cadets who stuck around in 1965 and 1966 probably realized that they weren't going to move along in the cadet program the same way they did before and eventually just quit during 1967.

So in years hence, when we look at the end strength of cadets for 2020 compared to 2019, we'll probably see a serious drop off of around 25%, and next to that year will be notated "COVID-19".
Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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SarDragon

Quote from: NIN on August 29, 2020, 01:24:58 amThe 1967 loss is often attributed to the war in Vietnam, but I think it was something else that contributed: the "timing out" of cadets who no longer grandfathered from the "old" cadet program to the 1964 Jack V. Sorenson cadet program. When the program changed in 1964, there was probably a phase-in period, and cadets who stuck around in 1965 and 1966 probably realized that they weren't going to move along in the cadet program the same way they did before and eventually just quit during 1967.

So in years hence, when we look at the end strength of cadets for 2020 compared to 2019, we'll probably see a serious drop off of around 25%, and next to that year will be notated "COVID-19".

IIRC, the phase-in period was 12 months, 1 Sep 63 to 31 Aug 64. I joined during the transition period, and completed Ach 1 under the olde program.

Each unit could select a time within the year to change over, and mine selected 1 June 1964. Everyone in an olde achievement had to complete it by that date. Any achievements started after that date were in the new program. All rank was retained, and you picked up where you left off, using the new materials.

Speaking of new materials, the biggest change was the leadership lab. The aero ed stuff stayed mostly the same. Limitations on cadet officer promotions were eased, but didn't go away until some time in the '70s.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

JohhnyD

Quote from: NIN on August 29, 2020, 01:24:58 amWRT Homeschool efforts:

Homeschoolers represent approximately 3.5% of the student population of the United States.[1]

In Civil Air Patrol, over 23% of cadets report they are homeschooled on their membership application.
3.5% of 56.4 million (see https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372) =1,974,000 students.
23% of 27,120 (current eServices cadet count) = 6237.
6237 as a percentage of 1.974MM = 0.3%

Quote from: NIN on August 29, 2020, 01:24:58 amI kind of think that 1/4 of the CP being homeschooled means that we're doing an pretty decent job of reaching the homeschool community.  To the point where there's probably not a gigantic burning need to go out of your way to do much more than you're already doing in normal recruiting to access homeschoolers. (I could be wrong, and certainly don't stop recruiting homeschoolers, but its not like homeschoolers are underrepresented in CAP).
A three tenths of one percent market penetration ain't much. But frankly, our overall R&R program is pathetic with a capital P.

We have achieved a YOY 30+ percent growth rate with a tiny effort by a very few members. Imagine what we could do?

etodd

Quote from: JohhnyD on August 29, 2020, 09:18:05 am.... 30+ percent growth rate with a tiny effort by a very few members.


And thats the key. Squadron growth is grass roots by the members themselves. Yes, national can give you some marketing materials ... but its all about the existing members reaching out to friends, family and others in their community to get the word out. Squadrons are day and night different. Some have those members who are great at outreach ... most don't.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

Paul Creed III

Undoubtedly, the past 6 months have been a challenge and I think CAP (as will many organizations and other entities) will emerge from COVID changed. I know I have had personal challenges of maintaining interest as missions I have served on concluded and fixed wing flying dropped dramatically.

Virtual training (not just Volunteer University) is (I hope) here to stay to expand educational opportunities for the membership.

sUAS will continue to expand immensely as we look to not only expand, but to also standardize the sUAS fleet on an airframe (Skydio 2) that's within financial reach of members and units to have their own kits for local training.

Cyber will continue to expand. The Cisco 15-week Learn-a-thon is getting close to launching as well as access to Cisco Networking Academy for the entire membership.

Change is hard. No doubt.

Will we loose some member? Sadly, as we have already seen, we will. But we'll also come back with renewed focus when things open up again which will bring new members to us.
Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
National Headquarters Photography Working Group
Instructor, Volunteer University
Akron-Canton Senior Flying Squadron Commander

NIN

And if CAP had a similar (3/10th of a percent) market penetration against the entire national student population (56.4M), we'd have 169,000 cadets.



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.

Holding Pattern

Quote from: Paul Creed III on August 29, 2020, 06:27:58 pmThe Cisco 15-week Learn-a-thon is getting close to launching as well

Details on this?

JohhnyD

Quote from: NIN on August 29, 2020, 07:39:40 pmAnd if CAP had a similar (3/10th of a percent) market penetration against the entire national student population (56.4M), we'd have 169,000 cadets.
And?

Our R&R program is pathetic, with a capital "P"!

If every unit had an ambassador (the PAO, the unit CC, an enthusiastic SM) go out into the community and "tell the story" for one full day every month, we could be at that level in one year. We started that 60 days ago (the RSC class inspired a number of our SMs), and two full days in we have an active, brand new NCO program and three nascent detached school-based flights in the early stages of organization, as well as thousands of dollars in current and future donations.

There is NO EXCUSE for our minuscule numbers. None.

Paul Creed III

Quote from: Holding Pattern on August 29, 2020, 07:47:25 pm
Quote from: Paul Creed III on August 29, 2020, 06:27:58 pmThe Cisco 15-week Learn-a-thon is getting close to launching as well

Details on this?

Details coming out soon :-)

https://www.netacadlearnathon.com/

CAP and Cisco have a partnership and all of the CAP-specific information will be released once it is all finalized.
Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
National Headquarters Photography Working Group
Instructor, Volunteer University
Akron-Canton Senior Flying Squadron Commander