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Author Topic: Desperate in ATL  (Read 1889 times)

Posts: 13

« on: September 20, 2005, 04:50:56 PM »

Hi again,
I have a situation with my squadronand wanted toask for you alls advice.

As Isaid in my introduction, I have beenin CAP for 20 years as a cadet and presently as a senior member. For the most part, I have been inthe same squadron. My squadron is unique. It is the only CAP unit in the inner city of a major metropolitan city. Thats a politically correct way of saying its an all african american squadron. Why is that important? My squadron is severley hurting on the cadet side and the SM side. We have a lot of SM's, but they use my squadron as their own personal flying club. You see, there's a navy base near us and they have a Navy Flying club that offers rally discountd prices on aircraft rental. To join the Navy flying club, you have to be active duty, reserves or natiional guard, or the family of such. OR you can be a member of CAP. So, WHat these guys do is join CAP so they be a member of this flying club. OH, they are very active inthe flying club. They fly all the time.But they mAY come to a CAP once a month or every two months. Ther is a guy that has been in our squadron for five years and the only thing he ghas done is Level 1. He's never been to an SLS, CLS, wing conference or anything. For the most part the only thing they know about CAP is the weekly meeting. They dont participate in anything else. I ask them why and they say they are busy with family and job. But they arent too busy to fly at the flying club.

I am offended by this behavior because number 1 I am in the military and feel that membership in the flying club is a military benefit just like the PX, bowling ally.I have been to Iraq and fought for my country. Ideserve this benefit. WHat have they done? They dont even participate in CAP. I have erged the commander(who is a Flight Instructor at the flying club) to write a letter to the club manger and have their membership withdrawn for lack of participation in CAP. AM I right for this?

Now to the cadets. Its the opposite of the SM's. We have maybe 4 cadets on a good night. Its the old cathc 22. We cant have activities because lack of cadets and we have a lack of cadets because we have no activities. Caets come and there is nothing for them to do. It makes no sense to march three peple around the parking lot. So, they usually sit in on the SM meeting and of course, they are board cause as stated above all the seniors do is tel old flying stories. And eventually,the cadets stop comming. Its a revovling door at my unit.

One time in 1992 when I was home from college. Iwent to 4 high schools in my area.Italkes to their JROTC cadets and Irecruited 35 cadets. 25 actualy showed up. I went off to colleg eand came back for christmas break and there were 5 cadets left.

Youhave tounderstand in my community, CAP is not a known organization. Also aviation is not promoted in my area. I want to promote aviation, buti it is hard sometimes. How do Iget the cadets and keep them and what do I do about my senior members? Thanks
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Lord, if I must have an engine failure, let it be the Hobbs meter.
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,461

« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2005, 06:17:00 PM »

Nice rant, but what can you or have you done about the issues/complaints you have raised here?  I get the impression that maybe you are or at least that you feel you are not in a position to effect any change... We all know of those unit commanders or even CDC's and CDS's in Composite Squadrons who exercise their command authority in a manner which discourages suggestions of new ideas or innovation from subordinates.  What I mean is are you or can you put yourself in a position where your ideas and suggestions will be at least heard and acknowledged rather  than just [censored]ing and moaning and being ignored because you are an outsider and are not in charge.

From the looks of things you seem very interested in the Cadet Program, but are you actively holding a related staff function?  Seems like you are in a Composite Squadron also... So be looking to sell yourself as the Leadership Officer or even CDC... Then work on changing things for the better like getting out and starting a recruiting and retention program.  If you are a Composite Squadron, don't worry about the senior side so much... Concentrate on CP and just let the other seniors just do their thing.  IMO it isn't worth the heartburn if it has little impact on your overall mission.

Be looking at your options, but bear in mind that being seen as a troublemaker and trying to get your way in a unit that just won't budge can be hazardous to your health, and unfortunately in a lot of cases CAP units are the way they are just because...

« Last Edit: September 20, 2005, 07:12:56 PM by MIKE » Report to moderator   Logged
Mike Johnston
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,382

« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2005, 06:18:08 PM »

On the cadet issue, find out what the cadets want to do and do it. If that means drilling three cadets, then drill them. Since your unit is black American, do some research on black Americans in aviation and present the information to the cadets - or give them the names and see if they can find out about them. Get the few cadets you have to be the best cadets they can be.

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Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,987

« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2005, 07:20:17 PM »

Some meeting night take all the cadets that show up and pile them in a car and take them to another Squadron meeting. There are enough Squadrons in and around Atlanta, you should find one fairly close. If your cadets like the visited Squadron transfer them to the other unit.  Leave the flying club seniors in the old Squadron, and after about 6 months Georgia Wing will be wondering where all the required reports are and investigate the unit, probably deactivate it. This will leave all those flying club members without a CAP unit to belong to.  You'll never get senior members like that to be active in a Squadron, they are not there to be CAP members, they are only there for the membership so they can fly at the Navy Flying Club.
You can also pass the problem up the chain of command and let higher headquarters know of the problem. Georgia Wing is one of the toip Wings in the SouthEast Region, so you can expect some answers there.
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Gil Robb Wilson # 19
Gil Robb Wilson # 104

Posts: 5,138
Unit: NER-NH-038

Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2005, 07:59:55 PM »

I myself am in a composite squadron, in a similar situation.  I have few regularly showing up cadets (last meeting 3 came), and I have a ton of seniors on the SM side who only want to fly aircraft and do not want involvement in the Cadet Program.
That's fine, as far as I'm concerned.  The Cadet Program meets on a separate night from the Senior Members.  It's a composite squadron, after all, and it is neatly divided into two components.  Have the Deputy Commander for Cadets lead the Cadet meetings on a separate night.
This immediately separates you from all the problems of the other, inactive Seniors and gives your Cadet Program a chance for success separate from that.
Now, as for your Cadet Program, you sound like you could be in the position to do the DCC's job if you don't already have a qualified one.  Sell yourself for that, as was already suggested.   Develop a training program and quarterly schedule, and start from the basics.  CAP has a new cadet orientation course out with tons of materials for each week's lessons online.  Use that for your first few months of work and add to it from there.

Once you've got a solid training program ready to go, pick a date a few months out for an "Open House".  Recruit all over the place for both cadets and SMs -- schools, teachers associations, local civic clubs, explorer posts, boy/girl scouts, churches, club sports, community flyers, etc.  On every piece of recruiting material or presentation you do, tell them that if they're interested, they should come on the date of your Open House.  Not before, not after, but on that date.  Push that open house date to as many people as you can.
On the date of your open house, these people will be up to their necks in smoke and mirrors.  Because you don't have the benefit of having visitors over for a regular meeting and showing them around to give them a feel for what you do on an average Wednesday, and recruiting them that way, you have to sell them the program in a presentation instead.  On your open house, have high-speed Seniors and cadets (from other units if need be) give presentations about what CAP is, what the benefits are, what the Cadet Program (ideally) does, what some summer NCSAs and activities are that cadets can go to, and have Q&A time.  Have refreshments and pass out your membership applications and sign them up right there.  Tell them that if they want to get started in CAP, they should sign-up and start coming at the next meeting.
Your next meeting you'll have a ton of new bodies, but they'll all be on the same page.  You can start with the bare basics of CAP, the CAP orientation course, and go from there with everybody in unison.  You will have just built a fresh batch of cadets on which to build the future of your unit. 

By not recruiting them in small groups at a time, and stringing them along in a program that is mediocre, you haven't given them a chance to get dis-interested in the program.  If someone shows interest in CAP and you bring them into CAP right away, without having that new training program in place, you'll be bringing them into a unit where they'll get bored, dis-interested, and leave -- like your cadets have been doing in the past.
It's crucial to bring them all in at the same time and start them together as a group -- almost like the incoming freshman class at a college.  You all start together.
Once these cadets learn the basics of CAP and leadership, and your training program is taking good shape, you can now recruit people in the traditional fashion.  You can then bring them in and show them around to see what CAP does and what they can do and recruit people normally, and induct them whenever they're interested in joining.  As new recruits flow in, your original class of recruits will move up and become the staff members.
This is obviously a very simple overview of the process.  I am in the middle of doing the same thing myself and there is much work behind doing this.  It takes a serious committment to want to see this all the way through and you'll find yourself doing many hours of work per week to get this program on its feet.  But if you truly want to see this Cadet Program succeed, this is a way you can get it on its feet so eventually it can begin to run itself.    :)
Good luck!
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       

Posts: 13

« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2005, 10:40:22 AM »

Thanks for the response. you asked if I am in a position to add input on what goes o inthe unit. I am the Dep for Cadets in my unit . I am the most active person in my unit as far as activities. I have been in this squadron since I was 15 years old, so yes, I have a very voice. Its just that nooneis listening. First off, you have to understand the atmosphere of meetigs. People trickle in 20 30 mins late and we just talk about stuff. No official agenda because when we tried tohave one, the people that were assigned to speak didnt show up. So we had to ad lib. There is no command pressence here, cause everyone treats it like a club rather than a military organization. The commander is no different. He is our commandr but has no comuterskills o he cant enter stuff on MIMS, not that the SM's do anything to get put on MIMS anyway.

So, youare suggesting Iget out there and march 3 cadets? I have done the pen house thng. visited high schools and such. It works for a minute, but eventually it dissolves. I am currently in the militay deployed and so I am not at home to watch over my unit. Ifear what I will fins when I return.
I think what I will do is recruit youths and take them to another unit and let them grow in that unit then when they get to a leadership position, bring them back, but I need help I am a police officer and cant devote the time Iused to to the program. Thanks again
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