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Curry Uniform Program

Posted on August 17, 2021 at 2:57 PM by Tammy Hallihan

The current Strategic Plan set a goal to reach new and underserved markets by reducing financial barriers that affect cadets who qualify for free and reduced lunch support. The associated task with this objective included waiving the first-year membership dues for cadets with financial need, as the budget would allow. I am proposing that we alter the strategic plan from free cadet dues to a more robust uniform assistance program. The proposed Curry Uniform Program will help bring CAP in line with other youth organizations that identify financial need at the point of membership to best resource our funding. These proposed changes also provide a needs-based approach to ensure that uniform help is provided based on financial need, so all cadets have the opportunity to look their best. Thoughtful comments are welcome. 

I would like to propose that we stop sending the money to the cadets at all. Whatever program that is come up with, the money should go to the squadron. Many cadets start at age 12 and 13 and that first uniform lasts about a year before another has to be found because they have outgrown it. ABUs actually compounds this because they are set up in specific sizes. Some units have some uniforms. For example, my squadron has a lot blues because have been in existence for several years now. Most cadets (and parents) don't even know what sizes to order and giving them a voucher that only orders a couple of items doesn't help them or the squadron. Many squadrons have found ways to help cadets using the supply that they have and ordering items that help supplement that supply. All cadets are deserving of the money that is there, but I feel that we have gone about it the wrong way for a long time.
Jane Smalley | 9/4/21 at 2:31 PM
Hello, Those CAP Cadets whose families struggle financially can't afford all the equipment they need. Whay can't we raise the Voucher to $200.00! In great demand for all Cadets are Flight Caps, ACU hats belts (blues and ACUs) , black boots, surely the Air Force has a mass stock pile of these items somewhere they can give CAP? My Flight spends alot of time fund raising, but it never seems enough. If u were to price out the 2 sets of uniforms the Cadets need with the accessories, it comes to $600-$800 - and that's before time is spent on looking for items. Thank you, 1LtM.Brian Pecorella TMSF 811 NM. Cadet Commander
MARTIN B PECORELLA | 9/3/21 at 2:23 PM
I think addressing the financial status of the cadet and family is definitely a bonus and a must. I had many cadets coming from the urban cities and are excited for oflights but in NY we dont have a single USAF Base and donationa feom recruiting offices, ANGB, etc is RARE! So many of these cadets dont get an oflight opportunity not just bc of weather but bc they cant borrow a unifoem or have acces sto one. I believe since we can purchase through online AAFES due to CAP, perhaps a voucher through the exchabge can make the otherwise $100 Curry Voucher go a longer way. Like stated in the other comments above, you can get same or better quality items that our military uses for less money and cadets can get both a Blues and ABU. What's the point of having help for one uniform when you still need the other? And that includes shoes/boots. The priority tier is good too. I've had cadets who just miss the poverty line but still can't afford uniforms or renewing their membership. CEAP continuation is big plus, but should definitely be increased. Also, since most things are going online or virtual, maybe a help or scholarship for a tablet or netbook (cheaoer than laptop) would help too.
Kathy | 9/2/21 at 3:04 PM
This proposal is an interesting attempt at addressing a sticky issue. Namely, we have two required uniforms and together those uniforms are expensive. However, the solution that is offered here is a bit like trimming the sails on the open ocean when there’s no wind and expecting that to help the sailboat. The issue isn’t the sails – it’s the wind. The solution to this uniform issue needs to be multi-directorate. Cadet Programs is attempting to throw money at the problem, which is fine except that there isn’t enough money to throw to solve the problem. The primary directorate that needs to be involved is Logistics. Wings need better cooperation from different Air Force partners to get surplus uniforms from the Air Force to CAP. Beyond that, CAP needs to do a much better job of ensuring uniform equity across units. This may mean spending some money on transporting uniforms, but that money is far better spent than buying overpriced Vanguard items. It’s pretty traditional for CAP units that are near Air Force installations to be “uniform rich”. Sometimes they share their largesse and sometimes they don’t. But if we had processes in place to require that sharing then more units could have more uniforms and more a steady supply. This is particularly true for Blues. It is unfair to ask the unit near an Air Force installation to be responsible for moving uniforms around, but Wing could certainly pay to ship uniforms from one place to another. A second multi-directorate solution is to finally solve the ability of CAP personnel to purchase items via MCSS / AFFES. This doesn’t have to mean that everyone has that ability – maybe it’s one or two “coordinators” per wing. Units order items via that person. The cost savings alone for this would make the voucher dollars go much farther. The DLATS version of the short sleeve blues shirt is $16. The Vanguard version of that shirts is $52. That is a $36 difference. The pants cost is similar as is everything else. This would allow units to supplement their blues stock with much lower cost options. This increased access to blue uniforms would allow a focus on ABUs with the voucher. Again, the Vanguard pricing for ABUs is exorbitant but given that we’ve chosen a uniform with no current producer we get what we get. The merch idea, while interesting, seems like an unnecessary waste of limited dollars. We already don’t have enough funding to go the whole way. Giving a morale shirt sends a poor message. “Hey, we know our uniform scheme is expensive so here’s some money to help but it’s not enough money to help entirely, but here’s a merch shirt so at least there’s that”….? It just seems terribly tone deaf to acknowledge there’s a funding gap and then spend money on a want when needs are unmet.
Todd Mandel | 8/20/21 at 8:37 AM
I agree there's limited budget based on the blues program today. So I'm trying to think forward beyond the immediate budget. Change a first year cadet uniform is a major program change and outside the scope of the Curry program but should be a consideration. In the long term the 1yr cost would be significantly reduced for cadets and CAP in this scenario. Thank you for your response FROM TAMMY -> The new regulation changes that are coming in October 2021 will provide a larger window to get a new cadet into a uniform. Check out the Cadet Blog for a great preview! The uniform is an integral part of Civil Air Patrol and cadet life and will remain a requirement during the first year.
Scott Joffrion | 8/19/21 at 2:28 PM
While income based programs are certainly necessary, so many children of middle income families fall between the cracks because they are just above the poverty line. One of the common flaws of the free and reduced lunch program was that the students who didn't qualify could rarely afford to pack a nutritious meal. I would caution the establishment of an income based uniform voucher program.
La-Tunya Flowers | 8/19/21 at 12:22 PM
While income based programs are certainly necessary, so many children of middle income families fall between the cracks because they are just above the poverty line. One of the common flaws of the free and reduced lunch program was that the students who didn't qualify could rarely afford to pack a nutritious meal. I would caution the establishment of an income based uniform voucher program. FROM TAMMY -> Thank you for contributing your comment. The current program hands out $100 to every cadet at the first promotion regardless of need or squadron resources. Moving towards a program that takes financial need into account will still provide funding for any cadet family that declares a need, but will use the funds that we have for this program more wisely. Please read over the linked paper and look through the 3 options shared.
La-Tunya Flowers | 8/19/21 at 12:22 PM
This program is over complicated and could be simpler and cost effective for the families and CAP. 1. Don't use a a financial tier to seperate cadets. Whether a cadet is qualified for a free lunch or has a brother or sister also in the family, the financial need there is a similar. Separating it by $50 isnt an equitable answer if financial need exist. Cadets can't wear half a uniform. And then the 3rd priority is simply a financial need due to other cause should also be able to receive the same. 2. Provide $175 across the board for ALL cadets that ask about the voucher year 2. And if it's still financially difficult, then allow the unit commander to provide on an as needed based the remaining amount of 1 uniform at his discretion. 3. Create a basic cadet shirt for 1st year cadets with CAP unit identification that can be worn with basic blue jean and/or kaki pants or shorts for first year. Just think like a senior civilians uniform, simple and inexpensive. This would be much less expensive for first year cadets. 4. Cadets would pay regular annual membership dues as well as other cost associated with program/event participations through the year.. request for financial assistance can be address on a case by case bases. Note: I don't see cost projected in the recommendation about kids bodies growing and rebuying uniforms the next year for cadets remaining in the program a second, third or forth year. I would presume their financial needs would be mostly similar year to year. Overall, have a standard $175 voucher for anyone that identifies a need for year 2. forget the governement statistics that will vary state to state.. Have a low cost uniform for first year cadets And allow the local commander to make exceptions on a case by case basis and pay out of local squadron funds as cadet needs are identified. Regards, 2d Lt Scott Joffrion, CAP Maxwell Composite Squadron FROM TAMMY -> Thank you for contributing to the conversation with your thoughts. We have a certain amount of budget allocated for the current Curry Blues Voucher program. This program is proposing a different way of managing the funding that already exists and in turn, potentially requesting more funding to support a new way of operating and increased costs since the program was established. Providing $175 for each cadet is not fiscally possible with our budget and handling financial aid at the national level for 21,000+ cadets on a case by case basis requires a lot of attention, more so that current workloads permit. The Cadet Encampent Assistance Program (CEAP) has helped cadets attending encampment with a second uniform for the past several years based on a financial need scale ($75 for Priority 2 and 3 cadets and $125 for Priority 1 cadets). Those CEAP funds can help a cadet "size-up" if they need a new set of Blues pants, etc. because they've grown. Be sure to share the Cadet Encampment Assistance Program (CEAP) with your families who have cadets attending encampment and need uniform financial support.
Scott Joffrion | 8/19/21 at 12:09 PM
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