As we arrive at the middle of the calendar year, it is a good time to do a check on where we are with our annual wing goals. This commentary also coincides with the Wing achieving one of its “stretch” goals – membership strength. In FY 2010 we had a goal of 1,500 members. This was based on the 2009 membership number of 1,447. As the Wing command staff reviewed the FY 2011 goals, I challenged the group commanders to move our goal from 1,500 in 2010 to 1,600 in 2011. This was a big leap. I am pleased to let all of you know that we hit 1,602 on May 25!
During our recent compliance inspection, one of the questions on the command tab asks about membership strength, recruiting, and retention. In my response to this question, I refer repeatedly to a quality program. Specifically, I believe that the key to retaining members and recruiting new ones is to provide a program: emergency services, cadet, or aerospace education that is well thought out, planned and executed brilliantly. I firmly believe that the secret to success is not some flashy recruitment drive or giving away shirts; rather it lies in the hands of each of you in a leadership role, ensuring that your unit follows the regulations and provides a quality program that gives meaningful duties to each and every member.
Last month I mentioned our compliance inspection (CI) in my commentary and I know many of you have already seen the email I sent out to the Wing announcing the results. I would like to take another moment to mention the highly successful grade that the Wing received from the CI team. This speaks volumes to the overall program we have in Maryland Wing and to the members that execute the missions. Of note, the specific staff sections that execute the mission areas of cadet programs, emergency services, and aerospace education all received the highest grade possible – Highly Successful.
Encampment, one of the outstanding programs we have in Maryland, is just around the corner. As I write this there are a few more slots open. For cadets, there is nothing I can think of that will provide you a better training opportunity then the Tri-Wing Encampment. If you are still figuring out what you want to do this summer, then send in your application now! You won’t regret it.
In closing, this month it is my pleasure to announce that the 2010 Maryland Wing Squadron of Merit based on criteria established by National headquarters for cadet/composite squadrons is the Frederick Composite Squadron, MD-003 of Group I. I hope to visit the squadron this month to present their certificate and streamer for their guidon. This award is based on objective criteria for growth, recruiting and retention, cadet program awards, orientation flights and first time encampment attendees, all components of a quality program. To paraphrase the words of Ray Kinsellar, the farmer in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” Help us build and maintain a great program in your backyard.
Congratulations to our Wing Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Julie Holley, and her husband on the birth of their daughter, Allison, in May.
Thank you for all that you do.
JOHN M. KNOWLES, Colonel, CAP
Commander, Maryland Wing