How to Plan an Activity

Activities are an important part of the Cadet Program of the Civil Air Patrol. There are several stages of preparation necessary to run a successful event for the Civil Air Patrol.  This page will outline the process and link the documents necessary to run an event.  

You should download the Activity Summary Template first and use it throughout the planning process.  From the earliest stages of planning the event, to the "After-Action Report" and even to the next time a similar event is scheduled, the "Activity Summary" is your friend.  Use it well!  

It is recommended that you enlist the assistance of a Cadet Point of Contact (C/POC).  Assisting with an activity is a great leadership development experience for cadets.  Being a C/POC allows our cadets to develop this skill set.  It is highly recommended that you have at least one C/POC for every event. They will make your life easier, they will grow, and you will grow in the process as well.  "Don't lift with your back.  Lift with your cadet!"  It doesn't just mean that cadets do grunt work.  It means that they are a ready, willing and ABLE source of some GREAT potential to make your life easier.  ...and they LOVE it!  Talk to the Deputy Commander for Cadets if you would like to know how to assign a C/POC.  

Now, follow these steps below to a successful event!

Step 1 - Operational Risk Management Worksheet


In planning an event, it is necessary to contemplate incumbent risks and discern if they are reasonable and acceptable risks.  The Operational Risk Management Worksheet and Risk Assessment Matrix are designed to help you consider the various risks involved in carrying out the event.  You will begin by brainstorming all the possible risks that may be encountered on the activity.  Then you will have the chance to calculate the severity and likelihood of each potential hazard. After making this calculation, the worksheet offers the chance to consider ways to mitigate the risks.

A graphical Risk Assessment Matrix has been created to help planners rate the risk level of various risks involved in an activity.  You can download the matrix here.  It will help you assess the risks, and assign each risk a level from LOW risk to EXTREMELY HIGH risk.  This rating is then entered on the ORM Worksheet.    

The ORM Worksheet must be completed for each event that is planned.  The completed worksheet confirms to the Unit Commander, Group Commander and Wing Commander that proper Risk Management Planning has been invested in the early planning stages for the event.  You can download the ORM Worksheet here. 

 NOTE:  For events of 2 days duration or longer, you must also complete the Wing's "Safety Checklist for Activities".  The Checklist can be downloaded here.  Ask a more experienced member if you have questions about this checklist. 

Note regarding "High Adventure Activities" (HAAs):  HAAs include rappelling, obstacle courses, low-ropes courses, water survival courses and similar endeavors. Short day hikes, compass courses and bivouacs are routine aspects of cadet life and therefore are not considered HAAs. Simulated rock climbing (ie: rock walls or indoor climbing) is permitted as a cadet activity when conducted at a commercial or government facility. It is not considered a HAA. If this event is potentially an HAA, see paragraph 2-10 in CAPR 52-16 for how to request approval and required steps.

For High Adventure Activities, see also:
Civil Air Patrol Regulation 52-16 
Civil Air Patrol Form 54
Civil Air Patrol Form 31

Step 2 - Mission Number Request

2The process for requesting a Mission Number is a standardized task.  You simply need to provide the Unit Commander with basic details about the Mission using the Mission Number Request Form.   The format of the Mission Number Request Form is shown below.

Mission #
DATE OF REQUEST MISSION START DATE MISSION END DATE Duration (in hours) Squadron Location Training Type Max # of Seniors Max # of Cadets Resources Activity Leader Requester


1. Mission Numbers are required for each activity that is not at the normal meeting night or location.  This will make it easier if there is an incident or insurance claim to prove it was an official activity.  It also ensures that activities have met safety/ORM/CPPT requirements.
2. A separate mission number is needed for each separate date of an activity, unless it is an overnight activity (continuous).
3. You can request multiple mission numbers on the same form, just list each separate date on a new line.
4. Enter all cells on a line, column B-K.  Copy repeating information.  Hover over cells with a red triangle to see a comment box.
5. Be as exact as possible, but estimate high on the time and # people to ensure full coverage.
6. Submit request to the squadron commander as early as possible, preferably no later than a week prior.  Shorter notice is possible, but should be limited to true short-notice events.
7. Overnight and high-risk activities require the completed wing safety checklist and ORM spreadsheet be attached with the request.  HAAs require the completed CAPF 54.

 Step 3 - Submit the Event to the Squadron Website Calendar

3Contact Capt Fletcher to add the event to the Squadron Calendar.  If you will need the van for your event, now is the time to reserve it!  When you submit your event, note that you need the van and it will be considered reserved, as long as there isn't a conflict with a prior reservation; however, a real-world Emergency Services mission will take precedence for van usage.





Step 4 - Create an EventBrite signup form

If you want to make signing up and tracking attendance easier for your event, we have an account at EventBrite to allow members to got to the site and sign up online without having to do paper signups.  You can do a "hybrid" paper/online signup, but we recommend using EventBrite.   If you need assistance using EventBrite, there are several people at the squadron who can assist.  Contact the Public Affairs Officer or Public Affairs Cadet if you would like assistance setting up your event on EventBrite. 

Step 5 - Prepare to announce your event to the Squadron

5You need to know -- there is no such thing as "You build it and they will come!"  If you do all the steps above and don't promote your event by e-mail and at the squadron meetings, the event is not likely to be well attended.  If you are not comfortable or are not available to make an announcement at the squadron meetings, please contact the Squadron Commander or Public Affairs Officer to have your event publicized at the meeting.  You should also plan to make it known on the Squadron E-mail distribution list, Facebook Group and possibly by direct e-mail to the e-mail addresses in eServices. 

Using a standardized format will help you remember the key pieces of information that cadets will need when they consider participating in an event.  The standard format for event announcements is as follows:  

Name of Activity


Day and Date of Activity               Time of Activity


Activity location:

Muster Location and time: 
Return Location and time: 


Special Notes:


National - Wreaths Across America Ceremony


Saturday, December 15, 2012, 09:45 - 14:00


Activity location: Quantico National Cemetery (Memorial Circle near section 23)

Muster Location and time: Armory 0945 for a ride OR 1045 at the cemetery
Return Location and time: Armory 1900  OR  Quantico National Cemetery 1400 (arrangements must be made in advance)
Transportation: CAP van
Uniform: Blues
Focus: Community Service
Duties: We will be participating in the wreath laying ceremony and assisting the public with the laying of wreaths.
Provided: Hot beverage and light snack
Bring: CAP ID, black earmuffs, black gloves, handwarmers, regulation outerwear
POC: 2d Lt Senior Member  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
C/POC: C/CMSgt Cadet   

Sign- ups: Squadron meetings beginning  8 NOV 2012 OR email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 13 NOV 2012
Special Notes: Cadets MUST have regulation outerwear for this activity. If you are attending and do not have a service coat, jacket, or overcoat, please see the cadet Logistics Officer for one of these items.

The Squadron Christmas party will follow this activity. Cadets needing a ride in the CAP van MUST arrange this prior to the activity date. There is a limited number of seats in the van and they will be given on a first come basis. All others will need to arrange for their own ride. Special permissions may apply. Please see 2d Lt. Senior Member if you will be obtaining a ride in a vehicle other than your own. The CAP van will return to the Armory after the party.

Remember to complete your summary of the activity. This will also be used to document lessons learned and anything else that might help the next time this activity is planned.  Continue to maintain the document until the event is complete and you have submitted your After Action Report to the Squadron Commander.


 6. COMPLETE! - Your main prep work is done!



You are now finished with your pre-event preparation.  Make any follow-up contacts you may need to make with the sponsoring organization's Point of Contact, make any additional preparation you may need to make, stock up on any necessary supplies and look forward to a successful event! 

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