There are many different ways for adults to support Civil Air Patrol. For those people who are considering joining, one of the common questions that is asked is how much of a time commitment is involved.
Types of Membership
The three most common forms of membership for our new members are:
- Active "Senior" membership - These are the members who keep our unit running and who actively perform the three missions of Civil Air Patrol. This is the only form of membership for new members that has a specific time commitment associated with it.
- Cadet Sponsor membership - These are parents, grandparents, and guardians of cadets that wish to provide ad-hoc support to our cadet program. There's no specific time commitment but generally cadet sponsor members will be expected to help chaperone events or provide transportation. Cadet sponsor members do not attend meetings, hold staff positions, or wear uniforms.
- Patron membership - Through paying dues, patron members provide financial support to Civil Air Patrol. Patron members do not attend meetings, hold staff positions, or wear uniforms. Patron members are prohibited from chaperoning events but are honored guests during social events.
Time Commitment Expectations
Because active (aka senior) members are expected to keep the unit running and support at least one of the missions of Civil Air Patrol, there is a minimum amount of time commitment necessary to understand how the program works and to be prepared to serve. Non-pilot, active members are expected to meet the following requirements:
- Attend a monthly briefing.
- Invest in learning a Civil Air Patrol mission skill
- Assist the squadron by contributing to a squadron duty position
In general, members can meet all of these expectations by committing to volunteer for around five hours per month.
Often, members will become passionate about our organization and will volunteer to lead events or to take on a bigger role in the squadron. These additional roles may require additional time commitments, but members are not expected to volunteer more time than they are willing or able.
How Squadron Meetings Support Time Commitment Expectations
Our meetings are structured so that the required, monthly briefing is done on the first meeting night of every month. All active, senior members are expected to attend the "General Briefing" on the first meeting where we will discuss all of the mission-related activity and plans for the upcoming month. Our third meeting of every month will always have a general-interest training topic with the widest possible appeal for all members. There is also time set aside during every meeting for our members to work together in learning and practicing mission skills and coordinating in a squadron duty position. In other words, our meetings are organized so that a typical member can continue to stay actively engaged by attending only the first and third meeting of every month.
Our second and fourth meeting of the month are generally focused on new adult members and the cadet program. For example, entry-level emergency services skills and mentoring are scheduled during the second and fourth meeting of every month.