Group 5 Public Affairs Plans for Success
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

By 1st Lt Donald Binner, Naples Cadet Squadron

Cape Coral, FL -

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 and school.

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 analysis.”

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.

Group 5 HQ public affairs officer, Lt. Col. Jeffery Carlson meets with 2nd Lt. Ruth Byron, 2nd Lt. Trudy Lowry, Lt. Col. Earle Bretz and Maj. Marian Motyl-Szary to discuss unit planning. (photo credit: 1st Lt. Donald Binner)
Photo Caption:  Group 5 HQ public affairs officer, Lt. Col. Jeffery Carlson meets with 2nd Lt. Ruth Byron, 2nd Lt. Trudy Lowry, Lt. Col. Earle Bretz and Maj. Marian Motyl-Szary to discuss unit planning. (photo credit: 1st Lt. Donald Binner)
Article Information
Reviewed by: 1st Lt. Donald Binner
Syndicated to: Florida Wing
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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit for more information.
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