The Future and the 3rd Pursuit Squadron
December 9, 2003
This presentation is being submitted as a list of suggestions on how we, the 3rd Pursuit Squadron can continue to survive and grow. It is not meant as ironclad rules that only if followed will the unit grow. I understand and realize that there are many driving forces that will keep the unit alive. I do not want to just see the unit stay alive. I want the unit to grow and be recognized for the enormous potential that exists here at Cable Airport.
This is a collection of ideas and thoughts both from my thinking and from listening to the thoughts and ideas of many “volunteers” in many activities. You may want to incorporate some or all in future activities as is or with modifications as required for our unique activities. However done please accept this as it is meant, to perpetuate the goals and desires of 1) Commemorative Air Force, 2) 3rd Pursuit Squadron, and 3) each of us as individuals.
The lifeblood of any volunteer group is the membership. To survive we must find ways to add new members and retain old members. We should all remember that we are representatives of the unit and should actively recruit. There are many different ways and here is a list of potential ideas:
1) Since we are a mix of individuals with many different likes as well as many of the same likes it appears we need more activities that will draw more members to participate. We really need some more activities to get more members active. I can’t pin point what, but anything will work. A bus trip to a museum, a night bowling (I haven’t been bowling in 30 years!) a casino night, a dance, an ethnic food pot luck dinner. Come on, I bet we could come up with dozens of ideas.
2) Once we sign up a new member, assign a mentor to that person so they become aware of what activities are planned and how they can become a part of those activities. Don’t let a new face come into our hangar without someone going to them for introductions.
3) Make old and new members feel they are all a part of the unit. Create a “Sunshine” committee to make sure that all special days are remembered. Birthdays, anniversaries, first time up in an airplane, get-well greetings, all should be remembered. There are many ways to say you are a much-appreciated member. This can be done by individual greetings or a regular article in “Ding Hao”. I know from past experience that even if they don’t say so, any individual beams a little when their name appears in print.
4) Assign an active member to an inactive member to find out why they no longer come to meetings. What can we do to bring them back? Remember that some people need contact to remember that they are a member.
5) A pancake breakfast fly-in inviting the military. That is, one or more at a time invite a military unit (reserve or retired) to join with us to see what activities we can offer.
6) Talk to local libraries. I’m sure we could design some type of a display to exhibit at the library that would tell who and what we are. Especially during Memorial Day celebrations and Veterans Day celebrations. This could be taken even further with D-Day, V-E Day, V-J Day, etc. We just had a very successful Pearl Harbor Day event at Cable and we should strongly pursue additional similar type activities. By getting sponsors, these events can be made not expensive and they strongly promote our goals to the local community.
7) Go on an all out membership blitz to the local veteran groups, pilot centers, gun shows, outdoor activity shows and recruit. I’ll bet there are even possibilities that we could recruit at the local colleges, at least at the aviation schools that are right here.
8) Getting more members involved may be done by creating non-voting positions on staff. These could be as Officers or as a Committee chairperson. Some of these functions are now handled by current officers, but if we want to grow we will all need help. A list of potential positions that are used to spread workload around and get more people involved could be:
A) Unit Business Manager
B) Personnel Officer
C) Airplane Crew Chief
D) Pilot/Aircraft Records
E) Building Committee
F) Resource Development Committee
G) Sunshine Committee
H) New Member Orientation Committee
I) Entertainment Committee
J) Airshow Coordinator
K) Publication Committee
These are just a few suggestions. Not all may be workable for our needs, but the more people assigned a position the more involved they will become. Each of these could have more than one person working to achieve our goals.
I almost hate to talk about this, but it is something we must do. OK, there are some funds in the bank right now, however our airplane will drain large chunks very rapidly. 50-50’s, Christmas raffles, etc. are nice, but they will not bring in the funding to properly restore airplanes and build new buildings. There must be some more thought given to this.
1) We need a clear plan as a Unit for fund raising. We don’t have a B-17 or the machinery that HQ has. We need strategy and tactics both short term and long range. Are we still thinking about a “full-size” working museum?
2) What do we really have, what do we really want, and how do we get it?
3) State and federal grants are still available. Corporate sponsorship should be investigated. We did change our name for this purpose.
We don’t have consensus or involvement from the Unit body on helping the Unit expand and survive. What will it take to motivate. Golly, I sure know I have tried. I didn’t do anything by myself. There were many that helped and I thank and bless you. You know who you are!!
1) A retreat, away from everything for a day or so, to do nothing but brainstorm ideas on what we, the involved, can do to get the others involved. I know, I know, the 20-80 rule prevails. Just maybe we can get that to a 25-75 rule. Even that small change would be welcome.
2) If we don’t get involvement from more and new members the ones doing all the work now are going to burn out and be lost to us. Involvement can be even doing some things from home.
3) Have more FUN activities. Golly, having fun can take your mind off any problems you have. This can result in more members getting involved and could bring in new members.
Let no one take negative feelings from what I’m about to say. Everyone that is trying is doing things. But we do need a better flow of information. The “Ding Hao” calendar is in place, but it lacks many important dates and events.
1) Someone must be appointed to make sure all information gets to the “Ding Hao” publisher to insure that there is no excuse, “I didn’t know”.
2) Those with the interest will have to call those that don’t seem to know what is happening.
3) Projects that need to be done must be advertised. Many times I’ve heard, “I needed help to do that.” Well, did anyone know you needed help?
4) Do we even know what talent is available? I can’t hit a nail with a hammer, but I can write an interesting press release. What talents are available to us from our members? How can we effectively find out and utilize these talents. We are a volunteer organization and that means we tap into our sources.
Our “employees” are not producing what it takes to keep our product viable. Perhaps if we double everyone’s wages we will get some reaction!! OK, I’m being funny but with the population base we have our recruitment efforts need to be much stronger.
1) Have we ever created a “job fair” to show what activities (work) by going to the Adult Community Centers, VFW/American Legion, Adult Education, etc.? Have we ever tried to tell the Retired in our area that we have a job for them? Let’s put out more effort to recruit for us, not HQ. Oh! I already know what that statement will bring down on me, but let’s be realistic. New members for us are new members for HQ.
2) Our marketing efforts are falling way short. How many activities are there right here in the local area of which not one will be represented with a display?
3) CAF is now “Commemorative”. Meanwhile a strong nationalist spirit began on 9/11/01. How have we used this for our goals? I don’t want to exploit the tragedies of others, however we are supposed to be a patriotic American organization. Have we contacted any local corporations to help sponsor our activities? I just heard from another unit that Bill Gates was contacted by letter to help. The results: no reply. We need to set up a group that can make a personal approach to local corporations, and we need to do it before everyone else drains their budget.
I hope this will start some thought process and even if there is no reaction, at least you, the staff members, know that there are things that need to be addressed. Please remember that I’m giving you potential solutions, not just presenting problems. If we all think more on the advancement of our goals, we will find our goals are closer to being achieved. There is tremendous potential here! Let’s pursue it with a positive and aggressive effort for the benefit of all.
For the future and the growth of the 3rd Pursuit Squadron I submit these comments and suggestions.
These suggestions were reviewed and accepted as part of the unit manual by the unit staff.
© Commemorative Air Force 2004