Civil Air Patrol

Wisconsin and Minnesota join in Professional Development weekend of training

Photo by Major Joseph Bradfield, Minnesota Wing public affairs officer – Colonel Robert Karton, Great Lakes Region commander, thanks the members for their dedication to CAP and their continuing education in the organization with Major Ron Sorenson, Wisconsin Wing deputy professional development officer, looking on.

CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis.Under the leadership of Major Ron Sorenson, Wisconsin Wing’s deputy professional development officer, over 50 members from two wings of Civil Air Patrol met this past weekend for leadership training at Volk Field, Air National Guard Base in Camp Douglas, Wis. The two day event was part of an annual professional development weekend.

In spite of opening deer season and a busy holiday week approaching, members were able to choose from four courses. Giving them the opportunity to perfect their leadership skills, they were able to take back their new skills to their individual squadrons or groups.

Colonel Robert Karton, Great Lakes Region commander, provided opening remarks and introduced region vice commanders Colonels Donald Haffner and Fred Rosenberg. Wisconsin Wing commander, Colonel Clarence Peters welcomed the attendees.

Nine members of Wisconsin Wing gathered to become more effective youth leaders in the Training Leaders of Cadets course. Major Todd Mandell, La Crosse Composite Squadron’s deputy commander for cadets, directed the course.

Lieutenant Colonel Julie Sorenson, Southeast commander, said that the nationally standardized CAP course “is to help train its senior officers with the best tools to use for helping cadets, depending on the type of unit.”

Sorenson, a group commander over squadrons comprised of both youth and adults said, “The goal of the course is to be able to tweak your cadets to be the best of the best.” 

Fifteen Wisconsin and Minnesota Wing members attended the Corporate Learning Course to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Captain Amanda Grandke, Racine Composite Squadron commander directed the course.

Technical Sergeant Keith Swanson travelled from Mankato, Minn. for this opportunity. “The group discussions are a big benefit.  It gives me insight how other squadrons are dealing with the same challenges my squadron is facing,” Swanson said.

Swanson opted to retain his military grade as a CAP senior member. However, he chose to progress through the levels of the senior professional development program; showing the dedication that some volunteers have to working on their leadership skills through such training.

Six members of Wisconsin Wing attended the Squadron Leadership School. The course prepares members to serve as staff officers with an appreciation for the essential role squadrons play in CAP. Major Arthur Stroede, professional development officer for the Milwaukee Senior Support Squadron 10, directed the course.

Six public affairs officers from both Wisconsin and Minnesota gathered to work on their writing skills during the weekend event. It was the goal of Captain Jeri Gonwa, Wisconsin Wing public affairs officer and director of this course, to get the students to share what works and doesn’t work in their squadrons.

Public affairs use a vast amount of skill in many different areas from writing to photography, to planning and speaking to groups. “Practicing these skills is the only real way one can learn this job and do it effectively,” she said.

Practicing the skill of speaking before a group, a couple of officers had the opportunity to teach a session to their fellow volunteers. Topics such as recruiting and fund raising; photo taking and archival techniques; and writing newsletters were among the topics.

Available to test members in I-Cut, a communications course for CAP members, was Lieutenant Colonel Bill Carlson.  The online course must be signed off by an approved officer in communications before members may use the radios in CAP.

Contributing to this article were Second Lieutenant Dale Mitchell, 153rd Madison Composite Squadron, Wis.; Major Joseph Bradfield, Minnesota Wing; Master Sergeant John Vanderhoof, Mankato Composite Squadron, Minnesota Wing; Major James Delaney, Northwest Group, Wisconsin Wing; Second Lieutenant Lad Vrany, Rock County Composite Squadron; Senior Member Fred Steinhaus, Wild Rivers Composite Squadron and Captain Jeri Gonwa, Wisconsin Wing.

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