Cadet Command Philosophy
"Even as times change, our commitment to the program we have built—and continue to work to improve—will not waver. We must continue to put in our time and our efforts to build ourselves, those around us, and our squadron as a whole, to be the best in our community, state, and Nation. The people participating in this program are what our squadron is made of—the reason it exists. People will always come first."
— Cadet Colonel Zurich Begin, Cadet Commander
Purpose, as a Concept
A purposeful program is the foundation of productive individuals. A program without purpose creates people without a desire to be better than they were the day before. The most important goal for our squadron is to build the greatest sense of purpose possible within every member.
When presented with the question "Why are you in this program? every cadet should have an honest, confident answer. With that sense of purpose, the people within any organization will flourish, and the organization itself will follow suit.
People are the Squadron
The most important part of any squadron—whatever its training focus may be or whatever resources it may have at its disposal—are its people. The success of the people within a squadron constitutes the success of that squadron. Cadets in every level of the program have a role to play in its success. Every person that joins a squadron is unique and brings a different set of skills, traits, and experiences to the table. One person cannot determine whether a squadron fails or succeeds. It takes the combined efforts of everyone to make it work.
Everyone has a Say
Everyone is going to have unique interests and perspectives. These interests are extremely important to building a purposeful squadron and an effective training program. Whatever level a person is at, their interests and opinions are valued. If someone has an activity they want to see or partake in, or something they want to learn more about, they must talk to their peers and superiors. Leadership must make every effort to incorporate that into their subordinates' experiences.
Each person is a driving force of their own progression and can make the most of that opportunity by setting goals for themselves. Whether big goals or small goals, everyone must have a means of directing their efforts. The chain of command is there to help each person succeed. People must share their goals with those who are there to help to keep those goals accountable.
No One Can Succeed in Isolation
Teams are build for the specific purpose of accomplish a goal. Our squadron, as a team, is built around the goal of making sure that every unit member succeeds and has the resources to grow and become the best possible version of themselves. A squadron may only meet one day each week, but the squadron's support structure—the chain of command—is there for its members everyday; all week. That said, individuals must take that first step to reach out to the people who are there to provide them with support. It can be difficult, at times, to ask for help; but no one can help anyone without knowing that help is even needed.
Communication is a must. Communication is, possibly, the most expansive but often one of the simplest concepts of teamwork. No person has an excuse for not knowing the situation; there are too many ways to figure things out. It is the responsibility of each person to find out what is happening around them and to pass that understanding along to the next person.
A lack of communication has no excuse for not being addressed. When leaders ask their peers or subordinates "What is the plan?" and the question cannot be answered, there is a bottleneck somewhere. It is everyone's responsibility to be on the lookout for these communication issues and do their part to fix them.
Quality Over Quantity
The growth of a squadron is often defined as numbers on a tracker, but numbers do not take into account the growth of people. Because an organization is, in essence, a representation of its people, the "numbers game" simply does not account for all which squadron growth encompasses.
Our training program is built around creating quality personnel who can do their job independently, ask for help when they need it, and to be there to help others that are struggling. We do not seek to develop a legion of somewhat-effective personnel. We seek to develop a team of well-trained experts in leadership and mentoring—people who can take on whatever challenges they may face.
Recognition Builds Desire
The most self-motivated person within a group—without being recognized for their exceptional work—will, eventually, start asking themselves "Why am I putting forth so much effort when no one cares?"
Recognition does not just come from a Cadet Commander or supervising Cadre. People must be ready to tell someone that they did a good job when that kind of recognition is warranted.
Feedback is an extremely important but difficult part of mentoring and building up others. If one cannot recognize and address a subordinate's shortcomings, they should not be the one to congratulate that same person for their strong points. It takes a balance of encouragement and constructive feedback to build someone to their highest potential. It takes experience to understand and keep that balance.
The Squadron as an Adaptive Program
As new faces come into the program, and veteran members say their goodbyes, people, interests, and the program itself will continuously change. New strategies to do it better will be presented by a fresh face. New challenges will have to be overcome, and new people be assigned into positions to overcome those challenges.