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Great Start Planning

III. Planning

Goal:  Prepare ranking cadets and adult leaders to implement the Great Start course successfully

Course Leadership

As with any project, the unit commander is ultimately responsible for the success of this course; however, it may be useful for the commander to appoint a senior member who is knowledgeable about Cadet Programs to serve as the course director. The course director and/or unit commander should appoint cadet NCOs, cadet officers, or if necessary, other senior members to serve as instructors. For more on the role of the cadet cadre, see the “Cadet Cadre Training” block of instruction.

Student Eligibility

This course is intended for both prospective cadets and new cadets. Ideally, squadrons will begin the course with an open house that generates enthusiasm for CAP among several young people. Additionally, prospective members who’ve visited the squadron prior to the start of the Great Start cycle and been directed to return at this time.  As the course transpires, the prospective cadets will decide to join CAP and officially become cadets. The unit may also allow relatively new cadets to participate in the course as a form of refresher training.

Cadre Training

The cadet cadre staff selection process should align with the typical squadron policies.  Depending on the needs of the unit, Great Start cadre may be a cadet’s primary role for a staff rotation, or an additional duty exclusively for the duration of the Great Start.  Cadre training is a 50-minute lesson that should be delivered by a senior member or senior cadet with significant leadership experience.  It should be offered between 2 to 4 weeks before the Great Start course. 

Orientation Flights

Love of flying is the number one reason young people join the Civil Air Patrol.  Getting new members up in the air as quickly as possible is a great way to honor their interests and keep them engaged.  Ideally the squadron will coordinate with the wing to offer Great Start cadets orientation flights the weekend after their promotion ceremony on Week 8.  Real world missions, plane and pilot availability, and cadet uniform concerns may mean that it’s not feasible to schedule them at that specific time.  However, squadrons are encouraged to get Great Start cadets up and flying as soon as possible.            

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