CAP Directors to Attend Boys & Girls Clubs Youth Development Conference

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More than 60 Civil Air Patrol region and wing directors are attending the organization's first Youth Development Conference today through Monday at National Boys & Girls Clubs Headquarters in Atlanta.

“Youth-serving programs thrive only when theadults are well-trained,” said Curt LaFond, CAP’s director of youth programs. “While CAP has lotsof in-house training, it is not enough.

“To take adult training up a notch, we’ve asked some of the top experts in the youth development profession to enlighten our community’s top leaders.”

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

“This training aims to create opportunities for current CAP staff members and volunteers to continue to learn and develop through evidence informed program models, staff practices and organization systems and practices that lead to impact,” said Dawn Brunson ,Boys & Girls Clubs senior director of military outreach.

Boys & Girls Clubs provides CAP access to memberservices, including organizational development,program and resource development, assistance with developing a comprehensive professional development strategy, and assistance with developing acomprehensive growth strategy using the clubs’ strategic growth model.

“We’re trying to equip our community’s top leaders with the latest evidence-based best practices,”LaFond said. “We’re asking people to learn what the experts recommend and imagine ways to incorporatethat learning in our cadet program.”

While there’s a huge amount of information to be learned, LaFond is confident the event will be a success.

“CAP is asking a lot of the adults who volunteer to serve cadets,” LaFond said. “Their job is really hard.They have to make cadet life educational, but not school.

“Adult leaders must point cadets in the right direction,correct them, challenge them, allow lots of opportunit yfor youth voice and autonomy while keeping the program a safe place to fail and bounce-back. This conference can help do that.”

Along with LaFond, other CAP leaders have been invitedto speak at the conference, including Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP's national commander/CEO.

Cadet Lt. Col. Isabella Mollison of the Alaska Wing's Birchwood Composite Squadron, the Boys & Girls Clubs' 2019 Overseas Military Youth of the Year, will deliver the conference's closing address.

A list of participants and speakers is available online.