So how far does my donation go?

So in the last post I answered the question about what is an appropriate amount to donate and how that can be multiplied through your friends and family. So the next big question asked is “How does my donation help the organization?” Well, that is a great question and here are a few ways that your donation helps out the unit.

One $20 donation can cover the operating cost for the squadron for one month. Fortunately, we do not have a lot of regular expenses thanks to our host at the NJ National Guard Armory in Cherry Hill. Our biggest reoccurring expense is our broadband service.

Two $20 donations ($40) can help buy a pair of boots for a cadet that may not be able to afford them. Black combat style boots are part of our BDU uniform which is also the uniform that we wear the most during our time in the program.

Three $20 donations ($60) can purchase one set of BDU uniforms for a cadet. This is just the uniform, this does not include boots, insignia or anything else.

Four $20 donations ($80) can subsidize 50% of the cost for a cadet to attend a basic encampment. This is a week long program that is required for cadets to become cadet officers as well as a prerequisite to attend other special activities that CAP offers annually such Falcon Flight, PJOC, Cadet Officer School and IACE.

Five $20 donations ($100) can cover the cost of one hour of flying time in a CAP aircraft. While all our flights that we do during missions are covered by the Air Force or the organization the request us, training flights for our crews are not always covered. This hour can help a three person aircrew perform proficiency training to keep their skills strong and current or allow us to qualify a new aircrew member in their initial training.

So as you can see, $20 can go along way in our unit to helping us train our cadets as well keep us ready to perform our missions for America.

Our goal is to raise enough money to set aside $2000-$3000 for cadet “scholarships” to help with uniforms, activity cost, and in some cases membership fees. There have been times in the past where parents have not been able to keep their child in the program due to these cost because of the loss of jobs or other financial hardships. We do not want to see cadets lose out because of money. It would be great if we could run large activities at no cost to the members or be able to outfit cadets with the uniforms and equipment they need without the parents having to take on the burden of the cost.

We also want to set up an “Aircrew Simulator” at our unit so that our aircrews can train while on the ground through flight simulator programs and equipment. I had the opportunity to use a simulator created by members of the Texas Wing Civil Air Patrol that consisted of three monitors, two flight control setups and Flight simulator software developed for us that allowed us to create a realistic cockpit environment where the aircrew could fly missions and train for emergencies during missions, practice our planned missions before going up in the real thing, and reviewing our missions afterwards to address issues that occurred during the mission. The cost for the complete setup is estimated to be about $2000.

So our total fundraising goal for us is $5,000. This will help us achieve both of these goals. If we raise more money we will use it for some of our other projects that we are looking at becoming more involved in with our members such as participating in CyberPatriot, a national high school cyber security competition hosted by the Air Force Association and Northrop Grumman, model rocketry, and communications. These programs will hopefully help inspire our cadets to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Donations and Force Multipliers

cropped-dancing_with_gc_star_logo_1.jpgIn the military there is a term called “Force Multiplier” that is defined as “A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.” (Source: JP 3-05.1). For example, Civil Air Patrol is a force multiplier for the Air Force. With our single engine aircraft and crews, we can perform missions such as aerial photography at a reduced cost than the Air Force can with their equipment during natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy or security missions such as during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake. This not only saves them money but it also allows them to save those resources for missions that they are better suited such as combat areas.

So you are saying, “OK Colonel, what does this have to do with me or donations?” Well, I am glad you asked. I’ll get to that, but I also want to talk to you about donating. When we get requests to make a donation we sometimes don’t know what is appropriate to donate. Should it be $1, $20, $100, you don’t know and that sometimes keeps you from donating at all. Well, I want to make this easy for you. Let’s agree to settle on $20 per person. It is a reasonable amount for one person and $20 can go a long way in our squadron. It also makes the math easier as you will in a minute. Now that is not to say say you have to donate that amount. $20 is a suggestion for those who aren’t sure. If you can only afford a $1, I’ll take it and be just as grateful for your support as someone who wants to donate more. The fact that you are supporting me and Civil Air Patrol shows that you believe in our organization and our mission.

Now that I have gotten that out there, let’s get back to the “force multiplier” thing. Now that I have asked all of you to help donate to my charity while I dance away, I also want to ask you to do something else for me. Ask your friends and family to donate as well. They in turn become the “force multiplier” for me in my fundraising. Let’s look at the numbers.

I am going to use just my LinkedIn account, which is http://www.linkedin.com/in/jisraelthompson/ by the way, for this example. I currently have 222 connections on LinkedIn. If everyone of those connections just donate $20, I would raise $4,440. Now, let’s say those 222 had the same number of connections and each one of them donated $20, that would be….(carry the 1, add 5, divide by pi) $985,680! By asking my contacts to ask their contacts for just $20, we could raise almost a million dollars. How’s that for multiplication? And I haven’t even mentioned my Facebook, Google+, or Twitter accounts.

So I am going to ask all of you to do me one favor. OK, two favors. First, make a donation to help the Jack Schweiker Squadron, Civil Air Patrol. Second, ask your friend to donate as well. If you believe in us, then tell everyone else. The best advertising is word of mouth.

To make your donations please make your checks out to “Civil Air Patrol, Jack Schweiker Squadron”

Mail them to:

Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 363, Woodbury, NJ 08096

Please feel free to add any notes you wish as well. The members of the unit would love to read and respond back. Also, Civil Air Patrol is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation so your donations are tax-deductible.

Next time, I am going to you about what Civil Air Patrol taught me about life and death. Stay tuned, as please send me your questions and comments.

Until next time, this is Col Izzy signing off the net.

Our first fundraising event – August 7th Winey Wednesday

We are having our first fundraising event on August 7th, Winey Wednesday! This will be a social networking event with the proceeds going to the Jack Schweiker Squadron, Civil Air Patrol. Anita Gates and her staff from Creative Outlet Media Group are hosting the event at their location. There will be wine from the local wineries as well as desserts. This is a great opportunity to meet me as well as some of the members of the squadron and help support us during this fundraising drive. You can register online at http://wineywednesday-dwts.eventbrite.com/. Tickets are $35 online and $40 cash at the door. If you can not make the event, you can also make a donation on the registration site. I will post pictures and post about it afterwards. So, quit “wining” and hang out with us for a while. Just remind me not to drink too much wine, I have dance practice afterwards. It may make me a better dancer but I doubt it.

Let’s get the party started!

Let’s get the party started!

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So as things would have it, I am about 5-6 weeks late on starting this blog. The original intent was to blog about my training and experiences during my time as a dancer with the 2013 Gloucester County Dancing with the Stars. I am now heading into my third practice with my partner so I have a fair a

mount to catch up on so that these entries can be more up to date.

It all started back in January during the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce coffee clatch. Barry Coniglio, the chamber president, was telling the group that they were still looking for dancers for the 2013 Gloucester County Dancing with the Stars. Now I know several of the past dancers and have helped support them. During that time, I thought about do it but I never really knew if I wanted to do or how to get involved. Well, I was telling John Campbell, the Executive Director of the chamber, about this and, I swear, the next thing I know Barry is shaking my hand and giving me a hug thanking me for volunteering. Well I guess that took care of my two issues right there.

I next had to come up with a charity that I wanted to represent. That was the easy part. I immediately chose Civil Air Patrol as my charity. I have been a member with the organization for the past 28 years and this was a perfect venue to not only advertise the organization but also do some serious fundraising which can be difficult for our organization. I’ll talk later in more detail about Civil Air Patrol and why you want to throw money at them, and you will throw money at them (excuse the Jedi mind tricks).

Let’s now fast forward to May because that is where the real fun begins – Dance practice! The six dancers; me, Rob, Bonnie, Kathy, Keith, and Angela (don’t worry, you will get to know them soon as well) met with Gene LaPierre and his instructors to do our group lessons. We laughed, we cried, we held notebooks. Keith kept fielding calls from his mother and Rob was the first guy to get his “magic” shoes. Then there was the wonderful practice where just the guys showed up. I say it wonderful because we really needed the extra attention even if Jonathan did have us do some Karate Kid “wax on-wax off” stuff balancing notebooks while dancing.

So we are all done with our group lessons and have started with our individual partner for the competition. I have the luck and honor of being paired with Christy Kam. She has participated in a couple of the past events, so she knows how they work and she is a great instructor. I did not think we would be this far ahead in such a short period of time. Now that I have caught you up, I can spend more time on some of the details as I move forward. I may also go back and discuss some of things that have already happened as well. Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions and most importantly show your support. If not for me, at least one of the other dancers and their charity that touches you. All of the dancers want all of us to be successful with their fundraising because that is what this is really all about. The dancing is just the fun part and hopefully it will be fun for you reading this as well.