I am a product of the Civil Air Patrol program and it hurts my heart to hear about the program struggling for members. Not only should we try reaching out to the kids, but a large part in recruiting needs to be focused on explaining and getting the support of the parents of those interested kids.
When I was a member I could recall that being one of our struggles. You saw the same group of kids at Saturday meeting and every event. We had the die hard parent supporters and a adult senior member team that was willing to pick us up, drop us off, and support anything that we where involved in. they where also willing never to turn their backs on us no matter what we where going through. Strong friendships were made, and are still strong today, between the group that I went through the program with.
After the parents are on board the next hurdle would be a strong leadership team. We had big numbers on the books, but kids see who shows up to every event and who they can count on to listen, and take them home if need be. So not only are the kids missing, but the parent and adult leadership also needs to be addressed in the recruiting efforts. The kids that do get involved need to know that it is not just Hansby, but a group of adults looking out for them. This program has made a lot of strong adults, and any effort to help out I'm sure they would all run to the call. Before you are going to get kids interested, you have to start with the parents being on board fully. It is hard work but, well worth it. I will not name everyone, but I would like to say thank you to the leaders that served my friends and I while we were growing up. To the parents, I would like to say time put in is worth it. Get your kids involved.
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