Florida Wing Group 5 Headquarters recently hosted a
public affairs planning session to assist squadrons with completing annual
planning requirements. The workshop was one of four breakout sessions conducted
as part of the Group 5 Commander’s Call held in Cape Coral, FL.
The workshop, led by Lt. Col. Jeffrey Carlson, included
discussions about recent revisions to Civil Air Patrol regulations and
requirements for the unit public affairs plan.
“We had a great response with seven of the nine Group 5
squadrons represented,” said Carlson. “It is always beneficial to have an open
discussion with everyone face to face and sharing ideas and experiences.”
Group 5, located in southwest Florida, includes nine
units and has at least one of each of the four types of squadron; senior, cadet, composite
Carlson explained, “Though units share the same primary
missions and core values of CAP, the squadrons are as diverse as the communities they
serve. Not every unit has access to the
same resources, so each plan will be unique. The way planning process highlights the unique characteristics is by taking an inventory called situational
The workshop emphasized identifying squadron stakeholders
as a key step in the analysis. The public affairs officers also determined the
media market serving their home unit, characteristics that shape the unit’s
performance, types of regular member activity and unit goals for the current year. The
participants then examined ways the public affairs program can assist the unit
to meet its goals.
Group 5 headquarters provided each squadron PAO with a template to help start the planning
process and organize efforts. Carlson emphasized that it was important
for each plan to include input from other members of the squadron staff. Once the strategic goals have been established, shorter-term
objectives can be identified along with strategies or tactics that will be used
to reach the objectives.
“It is important for the plan to include specifics about
the action steps. This makes it easier to evaluate the progress,” said Carlson.
Public affairs officers attending included 2nd Lt Ruth
Byron, Lee County Schools Cadet Squadron; 2nd Lt Trudy Lowry, Naples Senior
Squadron; Lt. Col. Earle Bretz, Charlotte County Composite Squadron; Maj. Marian Motyl-Szary, Marco Island Senior
Squadron and 1st Lt. Donald Binner, Naples Cadet Squadron.
Other breakout sessions at the commander’s call included
a planning session by the Group 5 Cadet Advisory Council, a workshop on preparing
for subordinate unit inspections and a train the trainer session to help
improve the use of slide decks for giving presentations.