VIP Rooms at Civil Air Patrol Conferences

Rock Star Syndrome

By Ray Hayden | CAP Insights

The United States Congress is against Term Limits for the same reason that the former Civil Air Patrol Regime wanted to remove the limits of their own Term’s, the “Power” that goes with the position.

We had addressed this before, a long time ago, but we have since removed the subject. To remind everyone what happens, and why, to the “leadership” in the Civil Air Patrol (and other organizations), we remind you.

What is “the power” and why do they fight so hard to keep it? The power is really a syndrome, we call it the Rock Star Syndrome, and because almost everything that has been said has been said before, we Googled the term and found this:

From The Urban Dictionary:

Rockstar Syndrome: It’s when all of a sudden a dork makes a change to his life/style, and he thinks he’s cool and superior to all, and allows himself to be rude to others. Deep down, he’s still a dork.

Bob came to school with gel in his hair and nice clothes. Now he doesn’t talk to his old friends. He is deeply affected by the rockstar syndrome.

No doubt, that is a tad rough, but extremely true of those under the spell of the previous CAP regime.

This is what happens:

1) A person is allowed to, or given the pipeline treatment to, hold a command position.

2) That person is now paid back for their expenses to travel to certain events in the Civil Air Patrol.

3) Being that their travel, hotel and meals are “free”, they gain a feeling of importance, which is actually real, they are deciding things that effect others in the organization.

4) During that event, they are “invited” to the “VIP Room”.

SPECIAL NOTE: Large “Pineda Centric” Wing, Region and National Conferences had a VIP Room, if you have never been to one, you can know that you had not been “important enough” to be “invited”. Lt Col Hayden was never “invited” by those throwing the bash, but got sideline “invited” by tagging along with a real VIP who asked him to go along with them and this is what Hayden saw in one such “VIP Room”:

There was a full bar available, there was high quality food, and plenty of it, it was a party atmosphere, where many of the folks in the room acted as if they had been high school kids let loose without parental supervision. This room was two stories high and would be, what I considered to be, one of the hotels Presidential Suites. A lot of who I would think of as “self important people” had been freely milling about and chatting and whispering to each other about privately important things. These are people who I would consider the sycophants to the Posse Members, the people who “wanted to be part of the ‘in’ crowd”. I was duly unimpressed, they all made me ill. The only reason I felt that they did not bother me is because of the high level person I was with at the time.

5) Due to the “Royalty Treatment” of the VIP room, the “hobnobbing” with the CAP “Elite”, these folks start to feel a level of entitlement or “right to be treated better” than other CAP members – here, they are sadly mistaken.

6) They like the treatment, they do not want to give it up and sink back to the depths of a normal member, they do not want to lose their status.

The kicker: This still happens to this very day.

Here is why it happens. There are 52 weeks in the year, that means 52 weekends. Eliminate Two of those for National Boards, where all the Wing Commanders must be, eliminate a few more for Legal and Religious Holidays, eliminate a few more for planned family vacations or Family Time, and the available weekends to actually see you CAP Leadership is very, very limited.

Unless you show up to a National Board Meeting, you are never going to actually see all these people in person. If you choose to show up, it is going to be on your own dime – remember, these people are paid back their expenses and are travelling “free”.

Unless you live in a very small state (Wing), you may never see your Wing Commander, forget about Region or higher!

So, what happens when a Wing Commander shows up? Everyone treats them (as they ought to) with respect and dignity (for the title, if not the person), and the person, while there, is treated like a mini Rock Star. When this person shows up at Region Conferences or Region Events, they are treated even more like a Rock Star. If this person is a Region Commander, the stakes go up even higher.

But what is happening?

This person is being sought after by a LOT of people who either just want to see them, have their picture taken with them, or ask them questions, or for justified favors – or back office deals. This person is indeed important, because of their position, to a lot of folks.

The problem comes when these people start to believe that they are deserving of the treatment. While CAP members are told to respect the position, even if you cant respect the person, the “leaders” are not told that they are being respected FOR their position – if not the person.

This means that the “dork” might begin to believe that they are all powerful and important, despite the fact that it is the job, not the person that has the importance tied to it.

Where the big failures of the past few decades occurred was when the little parties and royalty treatment came to the point where folks, in other realms, are well known as just a dork, rose to a level of self importance, and believed it. They always came to the point in their CAP careers where they realized that they would one day lose that position, and once they got the taste for the “good lifestyle” they never wanted to give it up.

Think about it, whenever any of us found that a few folks actually thought that what we had to say about a subject was important enough to listen to us, who among us did not have a sense of pride? Every single one of us at CAP Insights has had that feeling one time or another, and it is a good feeling – and it is just. The problem occurs when you “believe your own bullshit”.

The previous regime of the CAP, and their minions that remain still do believe their own bullshit, and this, causes problems for those below them, right down to the Units.

Terming Out: Terming out of office is the right thing to do in the CAP. There is no way in the universe that everyone will ever be National Commander, lifespans being what they are, it isn’t going to happen. There are only so many Regions and Wings, so based on the number of available positions, most CAP Members will never be a Wing or Region Commander either. In fact, it is quite unlikely that most CAP members will even be Group Commanders. This is why it is so important that Wing Commanders and above Term Out, to give opportunities to those who wish to ever gain some experience working for the General Membership in the higher offices.

It would also be a good idea for those serving as Group and Unit Commanders to step aside and give opportunities to other members as well.

While not everyone will ever be a commander, not everyone wants to be, or needs to be. Every member of the Civil Air Patrol has a talent. But for those who can work well as Commanders, and those who can, and will, do good work as Staff Members in higher offices – should be given that opportunity.

When given the opportunity to serve in higher office, and the Rock Star treatment occurs (and it will, it’s the nature of the beast), do not fall into the trap of believing your own B.S., and be willing to step aside and give someone else the opportunity to help make the program a continuing success. If your position does not have a mandatory Term Limit, self impose one, no one should hold the same position for more than four years, and often two is more than enough. If the bodies are available to take over the positions, give them the chance to prove themselves too.

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