Purpose of an anniversary celebration 3 Things to consider before you start planning 4 Event ideas to celebrate CAP’s anniversary 5 Publicizing your events 8 Samples and templates 11 Reminders 19 Addendum: Ideas for celebrating milestone anniversaries 20
Since December 1, 1941
Purpose of an anniversary celebration Civil Air Patrol’s Anniversary is recognized on December 1 each year. The celebration provides a unique opportunity to elevate public awareness of CAP, which, in turn provides these potential benefits:
Increased visibility for your CAP squadron will help foster community support and goodwill for CAP as a whole. It is critical for a nonprofit organization performing a public service to have community support and acceptance if it is to thrive. By exposing the public to CAP’s grand history, its vital public service mission and your squadron’s activities, you foster public support.
The increased publicity and visibility surrounding CAP’s anniversary can be a golden opportunity for new member recruitment. New members and new ideas are the lifeblood of a volunteer, nonprofit organization.
The increased visibility and public awareness can generate alternative sources of funding for local squadrons. Individuals, businesses and corporations are more likely to support organizations with which they are familiar.
Things to consider before you start planning Enlist the help of other local CAP units
If other CAP squadrons are nearby, plan a combined anniversary observance so all squadrons can share in the responsibility and benefit from the visibility. A duplication of efforts by neighboring squadrons may make CAP appear disorganized and lessen the impact of the events.
Even if your squadron is the only one in your area, an anniversary celebration should not be a one-person affair. If you attempt to perform too many jobs, details will be overlooked and tasks may not be performed as well as they could be. Form a committee of active, enthusiastic members to plan the details and perform the work to ensure the observance is a success. If possible, appoint some cadets to the committee. CAP cadets can make a strong, positive impression at public events and will help make the event more memorable.
Don’t overdo it
There are many things you can do to gain publicity for CAP while commemorating the anniversary; however, it is not practical to attempt all of them. Decide what ideas or venues will gain the most positive results for CAP and your squadron. This guide includes suggestions to celebrate the anniversary. Keep in mind that these are only suggestions and that other ideas from within your membership may serve your squadron’s purpose better. It is preferable to plan a few meaningful events to celebrate the anniversary than to attempt too many and risk failure.
Early planning is key
The best time to start planning your anniversary observance is now. Form your committee early, make your plans early and assign tasks to committee members early. Ensure everyone has time to complete their tasks in order to produce the best possible result. Haste makes waste. Contact targeted VIPs early, because the schedules of people in demand usually are quick to fill.
Include cadets whenever possible as they tend to make a favorable impression on people. When visiting civic officials, business leaders or members of the media, take along a couple of well-groomed cadets, dressed neatly in the appropriate uniforms. Remember to wear your uniform, too, when participating in any anniversary activities and all photo opportunities. Be sure people know you are a member of CAP rather than the Air Force.
Most public affairs officers on Air Force bases know CAP is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Make them aware of CAP’s anniversary. If you are located in a city with an Air Force base or if your squadron meets on a base, visit the Public Affairs Office, talk to its personnel about what you hope to accomplish and see if they can help. They may offer suggestions and assist with arrangements, news releases or media contacts.
For publicity and recruiting purposes, find videos, posters and reprintable materials about CAP at www.capvolunteernow.com. Browse the menu directly under the masthead.
Secure plenty of recruiting materials prior to the event your squadron decides to host. Contact CAP National Headquarters Public Affairs if you need help in making or obtaining sufficient copies, but do so at least six weeks prior to your events.
Event ideas to celebrate CAP’s anniversary Some ideas for squadron-level anniversary celebrations that have been well received include:
Moment of silence on noon December 1, broken with blaring of auto horns and pealing of bells, coordinated with wing commanders and public affairs officers
Birthday parties on December 1
Open house programs at unit headquarters and at Air Force bases