It’s getting to be that time of the quarter when we have another CBAA meeting. Let’s go with 6PM, Tuesday, April 15th at the Laramie VFW. I’ll start working on an agenda.
We are having our Mentorship Kickoff tomorrow night at 6:30 at the Laramie VFW. If you are close enough please come and meet this year’s commissioning class. It will be a great chance to connect with the program help out some soon to be 2LTs. We’ll have a sandwich tray and a cookie tray but you’ll have to buy you’re own beer.
We would like to have any current Company Commanders write a short open letter to current cadets, focused on MSIVs. We would like you to describe the qualities and characteristics that you look for and would like to and/or expect to see when a new 2LT shows up in your Company for the first time. We would also like you to describe some common mistakes that you see.
We are starting to put together several of these letters, we’ll post them on our website and use them to show some of the things we have to offer current ROTC cadets. We’ll reach out to them through ROTC Cadre and the cadet FaceBook Page, and any other means we can think of. Hopefully these can start some good discussions.
Of course we would like to hear from people other than Company Commander’s. I just picked that one to start because my first Company Commander had a huge impact on me, greater than any other person I worked for in the Army. He’s still a man that I look up to and respect.
Let me know if you are interested regardless of your current rank and position. If you want to just write something and send it in that’s fine too. I just ask that you write from the perspective of your current position for current MSIVs.
Also, remember that it’s just one week and a day to the mentorship kickoff event. I have spoken with LTC Day and he’s assured me that the MSIVs will be there. For those alumni who are close enough to get there, it promises to be fun, and not the mandatory type of fun either.
It will start at 6:30, Tuesday, March 25th, at the VFW in Laramie.
Hey everyone, at 6:30 PM on March 25th at the Laramie VFW we are going kick off our mentorship program for the year with a Mentorship Kickoff Event. If you come, and I hope you do, remember that it’s not about us and our stories, the point is the cadets and finding out what makes them nervous or exited about being a 2LT.
This is a great chance for alumni to make it clear that we are here to help and no question is beneath answering.
We will bring current MSIVs together with alumni in a very relaxed and unstructured environment so everyone can get to know each other and get comfortable with each other.
We will be providing some food and everyone can buy their own booze.
I’ve posted the notes from the last meeting to the meeting page. If you were at the meeting and I missed something let me know. Everyone feel free to throw in your two cents regardless. I hope you all have a great weekend.
Our next CBAA meeting will be 6PM on this Tuesday February 11th at the Laramie VFW. The agenda is on the meetings page of the website. As always, feel free to chime in with your two cents and anything you want to add.
Be sure to say thanks to the VFW by joining, or at least buying a few drinks.
I look forward to seeing everyone who can make it.
Our next CBAA meeting will be 6PM on Tuesday February 11th at the Laramie VFW. I’ve posted the agenda on the meetings page of the website. Let me know if you want me to add anything else.
As usual, in order to say thanks to the VFW for letting us use their space please join if you are eligible and buy a few drinks from them.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone who can make it.
I’ve heard that a few people are having trouble viewing CBAA emails sent to a mail.mil account. And I’ve heard from others that say they come through fine in the mail.mil accounts.
If you are having trouble let me know what email address you want me to use and I’ll be glad to update it. On the other hand if you don’t want to deal with me, you can just click the “update your CBAA info” link at the bottom of the last CBAA email you received and make any changes yourself. Assuming of course that the links showed up correctly.
Finally our next meeting will be 6PM on Tuesday, February 11th at the Laramie VFW. An agenda and other information will follow.
We are still working on the time for our next meeting. I do want to try another evening meeting to see if we can get a few more people to show up.
Now about the mentoring program: I’ve been very happy with the response to the mentoring program since it launched. A lot of people have come forward as mentors and we’ve had some instances of great success.
However, there are some problems that I would like your help with:
- There is a big knowledge/coordination problem: With the exception of brand new 2LTs, we don’t know where people are. We have a fairly good idea of who would like to be a mentor but keeping track of where mentors are at any given time is a huge challenge.
- We will never get beyond helping brand new 2LTs unless we can find a way for people who are looking for a mentor to self identify. Since most people have a hard time asking a complete stranger who outranks them at least twice for help, this is an acute problem.
- We are relying on one person, me, to stay on top of all this constantly changing information through my own variable levels of motivation and time available. This is a huge weakness in the system.
- I think the ideal environment is one where mentors and and those with questions find each other.
- We can create a page on the CBAA website for the mentor program where we can post helpful mentoring related stuff and have mentors introduce themselves in the comment section.
- We get a list of questions from MSIVs and pose them to the alumni through a periodic email and on our facebook page (and the ROTC facebook page). The question that I would ask to an MSIV would be: “you are about to commission, what’s one thing you wish you knew, or what’s one thing that nags at you as you think about the next step in your career?”
- We could just keep doing what we are doing now.
What does the group think?
I hope that everyone enjoyed their holidays and had safe travels. We are still traveling and as I begin to head home I wanted to give you all my honest assessment of the CBAA. I am going to lay out some things over the next few weeks in an effort to get a discussion going on what you all want to accomplish in 2014.
Last year we had a few challenges. I am disappointed with our progress on gaining 501(c) status since we filed early last summer. The IRS just isn’t moving our paperwork forward and my calls to them just confirm that we are stuck in the back log.
We only raised $250 out of our goal of $2,500 for scholarships. 2 members made donations. This tells me that we have donor fatigue as I know that many of you contribute directly to the various cadet teams. This also tells me that we need to find other ways to raise money if we want to maintain giving to scholarships and cadet activities at our current level which is about $1,100 each year.
Aside from raising money, our biggest challenge is that we have a hard time deciding exactly what benefits we want to provide to current cadets and alumni. Then when we do make a decision on a benefit we have a hard time finding people and resources to make that benefit a reality. One recurring example of this is the idea to offer swag to members for joining and/or renewing membership. We all think it’s a great idea but we can never find anyone to order it, maintain the inventory, make sure it gets sent to the right people in a timely manner, and make sure that everything gets paid for appropriately. This isn’t a complaint about how nobody will work, it is a statement of our reality. We have a very limited number of active members in the right geographic region, all of them are busy, and burnout is a real issue when the short list of available people doesn’t change much over the course of a decade.
One of our more successful programs has been the mentorship program but even that one has had many challenges. Which I’ll outline in another letter next week.
None of our challenges are insurmountable but they do require some combination of money and time. We struggle with both.
Please give the CBAA your two cents, both in the form of ideas and some actual money. I’ll also get rolling on our January meeting and put out that information soon.