15:29 PM

1st Youth Development Conference Called 'Great Success'; 2nd Set for 2021

Jennifer Gerhardt
Contributing Writer

Civil Air Patrol’s first Youth Development Conference, held Nov. 8-11 in Atlanta, was so successful that organizers wasted no time scheduling a second such gathering. 

“We already have the date for the next one set for Martin Luther King Weekend in January 2021,” said Wendy Hamilton, cadet career exploration manager at National Headquarters, who called the first conference “a great success.”

“Our goal this year was to look outside of CAP and connect with influential organizations in youth development,” Hamilton said. “We wanted this opportunity for our dedicated cadet programs directors, who work tirelessly to deliver a fun, safe and engaging program.

“Connecting with like-minded youth development professionals inspires and challenges us to always look for ways to be better.”

More than 80 CAP region and wing directors attended the conference at Boys & Girls Clubs of America Headquarters.

“I really enjoyed the conference,” said Lt. Col. Felix Diaz, Mississippi Wing director of professional development. The guest speakers were amazing. I really like the partnership between the Boys & Girls Club of America and the available resources for us to use.”

The conference aimed to help CAP staff and members learn about and use evidence-informed program models and other programs that will make an impact on youth development.

“The Boys & Girls Club of America reaches a diverse population,” said Lt. Col. James Peace, Southwest Region deputy chief of staff for cadet programs as well as commander of the Texas Wing’s East Houston Cadet Squadron. “To be able to bring those diverse kids to Civil Air Patrol would greatly benefit our program and current cadets.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs developed a collaborative partnership with CAP in 2017. By working together, the organizations hope to achieve broader goals and outcomes to develop the next generation of American youth to be successful, healthy and engaged citizens.

“The event was phenomenal,” said Dawn Brunson, Boys and Girls Clubs senior director of military outreach at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “I’m ready to start planning for next year! We have had an amazing response to bgca.net from those that attended the conference.

“People are really interested in the resources and we are excited to take this partnership to the next level.”