Two Bowie Members Graduate Professional Development Academy

By: 1Lt Scott Knightly
Asst. PAO - Bowie Squadron

The final weekend in March 2010 was the time Maryland Wing chose for its next set of professional development courses to take place. The setting was Camp Fretterd in Reistertown, the station of an Army National Guard unit that has allowed Civil Air Patrol use of its facilities several times in the past.

Over 30 CAP officers arrived for both the Squadron Leadership School (SLS) and the Corporate Learning Course (CLC). Bowie Squadron attendees were former commander, Capt Jeff Welch, for CLC and 1Lt Scott Knightly for SLS.

Squadron Leadership School is perhaps the most involved portion of Level II training. The curriculum is still fairly basic (which makes SLS an option for any officer at any level of professional development), but at its core SLS is designed to make junior officers into efficient CAP leaders. Areas covered include the role of the officer, leadership evaluation, effective communication, creative thinking, and an overview of squadron staff duties and various professional development tracks. Graduates of SLS have gained the foundational knowledge to be effective as squadron staff officers.

Corporate Learning Course is the next logical step, focusing on higher management principles and preparing junior and mid-level staff officers to serve effectively as senior staff officers in the squadron, group, or wing level. Training was given in the areas of teamwork, volunteer service, management, planning and decision-making, and effective use of available resources. Training went well beyond simple instruction and basic interaction, as Capt Welch notes, "I enjoyed the teamwork and interactive exercises. They really helped us to build lasting relationships that will go well beyond the classroom setting."

Both courses are given in classroom settings, but they are not meant for those who will be students and nothing more. Interactivity and involvement serve as both an assurance of the learning process and a means to make sure that whoever takes these courses has a good time while doing so. As CAP senior members, attendees bring their own experiences and ideas to the classroom, and when the teamwork begins, everyone is able to build on each other’s strengths.

A student at SLS or CLC acquires knowledge, but he/she also acquires actual experience in leadership. These professional development courses are not only essential towards advancement to greater roles in CAP, but they are a worthwhile investment for anyone.

Capt. Jeff Welch contributed to this story.

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