Expectations of CFAVs

Recently, an email was sent around (by a CFAV) about a summer break in one of our Regions that included a line which implied, to me (and others I’ve spoken to), that permanent staff would often expect an ‘immediate’ reply to their emails.

This attitude is exactly the reason so many CFAVs leave. Why should permanent staff expect immediate replies from CFAVs? And why should senior CFAVs allow this to be the expectation?


Who sent it? Have you fed back any of the concerns?

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You may be reading more into it than was intended.
Stating that they don’t expect an immediate reply at the moment doesn’t necessarily mean that they expect one at other times. It could just be a bad choice of words by whoever sent the email.

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I’d tend to agree, probably just clumsy language from someone trying to be helpful.

The word “clumsy” actually crossed my mind too, as I was writing the original post.

Sure, I can actually totally accept it might be clumsy language, but when moral is already low, an email like that from a Sqn Ldr (who is regarded as a “senior” Sqn Ldr) does absolutely nothing to improve it, and they should be tuned into their staff enough to understand how language (especially written) can be interpreted

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As I know where that email originated, I know the tone of that email.

It’s simply to mean that unless it’s urgent, we don’t expect you to be sat doing cadet emails during this pause. Stuff can wait.

Wing HQ don’t expect an immediate response to any email unless it’s got “Urgent” in the header. People have lives outside of this.

Come again…

Wash your mouth out with soap


Anything that urgent should be phoned in as a courtesy. There shouldn’t be any expectation at any time that a volunteer is sat on their email every day. Many choose not to auto sync emails and only log on 1ce a week.


I still feel you are reading too far into this.

We are having a two week, wing-wide pause in cadet operations. People are drained, and fatigued with everything going on. It’s a chance to refocus on family and work, and come back fresh for the potential restart in normal(ish) operations towards the end of the year.

So… WHQ will continue to work behind the scenes (as they always do), but not expecting any squadron interaction during that time.

WHQ doesn’t demand an immediate response, but they do like a response eventually. If it does need something urgent, the WExO will call the OC or nominated deputy.

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Are they? How nice of someone else to make that judgement and assumption for me!

I do love how some management make a decision they want time off and so force it on people.

Do we have forced closures when face to face. No.

Glad I’m not in your wing!

Next 2 weeks, we have got a full schedule and activities and the cadets and staff are engaged and loving it. Albeit not as much as face to face.


Actually, it’s not forced. It’s still completely voluntary. It’s been left with Sqn OCs to ultimately make the decision. They know their staff on the ground.

Most have said they will pause. I know of one that has said they will keep going, as they have enough staff and have activities already planned.

One will pause on squadron, but will keep an eye on SMS and push region or corps level activity.


It’s not forced.

It’s the same in our wing. Some squadrons are doing better than others with regards to VPNs. Then it also depends on what staff you have and how much they can give.

I’ve had minimal input into the VPNs because of the nature of my work during this pandemic; most of my days have been emotionally and physically draining.

Sometimes, we in this organisation, feel obliged to do things rightly or wrongly, so an email suggesting a break is a welcome email to many.


We’ve just given up and will pick up the pieces when face to face resumes…

It’s demoralising working your backside off to prepare a VPN for 2 cadets to rock up


The problem is some people pick ATC emails, SMS etc on all their devices, which develops an expectation within the organisation that everyone should do it. I’m in the once or twice a week club as far as looking at my official email goes.
One of my pet hates is talking to someone, their phone makes a noise and they immediately look at it and then respond to whatever it was. My phone will make a noise and unless it’s an actual call from a known number it gets ignored.
As for VPN, I was lost as to what it would achieve and their relevance. Having done a couple with little response from cadets who are having to deal (along with their families) with a very different and difficult work, school and home experience, my initial thinking bore fruit. Not forgetting us, some of whom will have been working differently, laid off/furloughed, trying to manage children’s schoolwork and just being around family members all the time. The last couple have been to just touch base.
TBH I think it should have been a total stand down, just to relieve the pressure and stress of something completely unprecedented. A bloke I know said he and his wife were working from home with 2 children (one primary one secondary), he bought 3 new laptops and changed his broadband to cope with the traffic. He said the first couple of months were a nightmare, until he and his wife started going into work 1/2 days a week, as their house wasn’t designed for living like this. Him and his wife did online meetings in their bedroom.

I thought from the outset the online “parades” was suggested from on high to ensure they could sit back and keep their jobs while the CFAV as ever did all the donkey work.

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On the flip side, I’ve heard of CFAVs complaining that Wing HQs are not answering emails. :man_shrugging:t2: Wing HQs are in a similar situation, not allowed in to the work place.

Everyone needs to realise these are unprecedented times for all.

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I have some sympathy for perm staff and the mindset to CFAV’s… I’m not on the crazy end of time dedicated to cadets, but I would say I’m pretty high on the spectrum.

However; I am self employed, so no boss to upset and although my partner has never been a cadet or been to sqn, he is very supportive of cadet activities (likely as it gets me out the way). My partner and I can’t naturally have kids (being two he’s) and neither of us want to have our own anyway.

So I am able to funnel a tonne of time into cadets.

I have to check myself sometimes, and remind myself that a lot of colleagues are not in the same boat, and have a boss and larger immediate family to accommodate.

I like to think I’m pretty aware of what’s happening around me, and every now and then I have to keep my expectations of others back into check, it isn’t reasonable for me to expect a CFAV with a young family to be as quick to react to things as I might be…

So with that in mind I can see how if full time employed, and you are dealing with a mix of full timers and volunteer staff how the expectation may become out of whack.

Interestingly I have a friend that works full time for the RSPB, and she vents her frustrations about the volunteers from time to time, so it’s interesting to hear what she says looking at it from the other way round, albeit in a different organisation.


This didn’t come from the Sqn Ldr, while the email does as their account is used to send the Mail drop, you’ll note that the sponsor of the only entry is OC Wg, and the message is theirs.

I think I have a good relationship with our WHQ staff, and tbh they are a decent bunch, all 3 of them have volunteer experience either directly or through a family connection, and when there are very short deadlines they tend to come with an apology. But there should not be this expectation of immediate, I would expect a response, if required within a week though.

I think some people like to use 50 words when 5 will do.

This isn’t forced, and I’m actually being bolder and not running anything in August, but will push other things to the cadets. August is normally quieter due to staff & cadet holidays, combined with camps. With Lockdown easing and good weather I know I’d rather be out with my mates than on a Teams call.

Look it’s me!!

Never use two words where one word will do… That’s my motto. That’s my axiom. That’s the way I look at things.


ok, that’s just semantics :man_shrugging: although, IM (very) HO, if OC Wg wants to email that message, s/he should do it and not get someone else to do it on their behalf.

I think we must be talking about a decent Wing tho - your description of WHQ staff doesn’t match the one I’m thinking of

They didn’t get someone else to send it, they added the MailDrop Entry, and the automated PUSH function sent it out.

Other wings in our region, use Mail Drops, however it is a PULL mechanism having to log onto SharePoint to retrieve the content, in our Wing we make use of MS Flow to automatically send all entries on a weekly basis, and the account that owns this process is the one that sends it, the important part is the Sponsor, as this is who the individual message comes from.

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