Successful recruiting for the Army National Guard can be achieved by knowing your territory, taking a “team” approach with the area schools and their leadership, and utilizing the skills and software shared through mentorship. Being persistent in reaching out to those prime candidates will exemplify the ideals of an Army National Guardsman. The purpose of this paper is to formulate a recruiting plan for the Northern Neck of Virginia. This area is the northernmost peninsula that separates Maryland and Virginia by the Potomac River. The Northern Neck is divided up into four counties for a total of 986 square miles. Lancaster County, Northumberland County, Richmond County, and Westmorland County. Due to the proximity of two local public high schools near the Northern Neck, Caroline County (537 square miles) and Essex County (286 square miles) were added to my recruiting area within Area 6 of the Virginia Army National Guard. This gives me alone a recruiting area of 1,809 square miles, with a driving distance of over 45 minutes to reach six out of eight public high schools and one community college. Listed are the following schools of my area of assignment: Caroline High School, Washington and Lee High School, Essex High School, King George High School, Rappahannock High School, Northumberland High School, Colonial Beach High School, Lancaster High School, and Rappahannock Community College. I will focus my efforts on building the most positive school program at Caroline High School and divide up my remaining time at each of the seven remaining public high schools and community colleges.
The United States Census Bureau conducted its last report in 2010 of the Northern Neck in Virginia. A total population was 50,429 resides in this region. The ethnicity is fairly diverse throughout the counties: 34,292 Caucasian; 14,002 Black or African American; 149 American Indian or Alaska Native; 241 Asian; 951 Other and 785 Multiple Races. The qualifying ages for the Army National Guard are as follows: Ages 15 to 19 years 2,694, 20 to 24 years 2,318, 25 to 29 years 2,357, and 30 to 34 years 2,289. The largest industry in the area is food service and accommodations, followed by construction jobs. However, the Northern Neck of Virginia is most notably known for it's fishing and crabbing communities followed by Agriculture (farming) forestry, hunting, waste management health care and social assistance. With regards to the educational attainment of the population of persons over the age of 18 5% have an 8th-grade education or less; 10% have some high school education; 35% are high school graduates/GED; 23% have some college education; 7% have an Associate’s degree; 12% have a Bachelor’s degree and 8 % have a Graduate or Professional degree.
- High School
- Student Pop.
- ROTC Program
- Sr. / Jr.
- Graduation Rate
- Washington & Lee H.S.
- No ROTC
- Essex H.S.
- No ROTC
- Colonial Beach H.S.
- No ROTC
- Rappahannock H.S.
- King George H.S.
- Caroline H.S.
- Northumberland H.S.
- Lancaster H.S.
- Rappahannock Community College
- No ROTC
I have chosen to select Caroline High School to be my primary High School for the remainder of FY2020. Caroline High School is the only public high school located in Milford, Virginia of Caroline County. It has a total student population of 1211 students; 247 seniors; 284 juniors. The graduation rate is 92% of its high school seniors. Last fiscal year the year-to-date completion of students taking the SASVAB are 134 seniors and 86 juniors as of 11/19/2018. Another ASVAB testing will be scheduled for the remainder of the year. The School Board along with the entire administrative staff at the high school fully supports the Virginia Army National Guard. Lead-generating ideas will consist of setting up static displays at football, baseball, and basketball games and including lunchroom displays. To build upon my school program, I will start a “Flag Detail” among the student body with the Principals approval. The initiation of this program is one example of my instilling the Army Values to the student population. This program places them in charge of raising and lowering the American and State Flags before and after school. I will also meet with the student volunteers to educate them on the American Flag, folding the flag, and the history of the flag.
Last year during Washington and Lee High School‘s homecoming football game, I had a formal presentation of the Virginia Army National Guard's Transfer of Responsibility to the students of Washington and Lee High School on the 50-yard line, in the middle of the field as a part of the half-time performance. The ceremony consisted of eight volunteer students, six soldiers from the local Combat Engineer Unit, myself and the Athletic Director Mr. Lewis (in the absence of the school principal). While marching onto the middle of the field, I had the announcer read a script of the 'Transfer of Responsibility” from the Virginia Army National Guard to the students of Washington and Lee High School. It explained to the spectators what we were doing and the significance behind the ceremony in front of the Student Body, Parents, Faculty and Staff. All eight students were taught the proper way of folding the United States American Flag. I purchased both flags and donated them to the school and students on behalf of the Virginia Army National Guard. Student members of “Flag Detail” are now on a rotating roster from week to week accepting the responsibility of the care of the flags.
Explain why you chose the school
Caroline High School is the most geographically accessible location for me to build a successful school program that is closest to the National Guard Armory. After introducing myself to the faculty and staff, I concluded this school is the most supportive of the National Guard Mission and allows me to have full access any day, any time to talk to their students. Upon my return to Virginia after completing SQI4, I will first introduce myself to the Principal of Caroline High School, Mr. Joshua Just, and his staff, I let them know that I was not like any of the other recruiters that visit their school. I expressed to them that not only do I live in the same county as the high school but as a member of the community and a father of three high school graduates, I understand the importance of implementing core values into our young adults to prepare them for a successful future beyond high school. As a Sergeant First Class in the Virginia Army National Guard, I can join their team as a role model to help instill the values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Respect within the student body. The ROTC Commander, CW4 John Marsh is a retired Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter pilot. I have already met with him and he is going to allow me to assist in administering physical training with his JROTC student as well as getting in front of his classes to present School Entry Vehicles (SEV) such as Adventure, Resiliency, Goal Setting, How to pay for College, Benefits of the National Guard, The American Flag, History of the National Guard, ROTC/SMP’s Military Traditions and Educational Benefits, Army Values, Leadership Training, Fitness and Nutrition, Sense of Belonging, Pay Entitlements and Enlistment Bonuses, Diversity, National Security and Service to Country and Community to name a few.
Explain the plan to establish the presence
Prior to setting up any recruiting activities or events at Caroline High School, I set up an appointment to meet with the Principal, four Assistant Principals, Counselors, Athletic Director and JROTC Staff and introduced myself as a Virginia National Guard Recruiter for their school. During this meeting, I discussed with them my plan to assist their faculty and staff in getting their graduating students to continue their education with the use of National Guard college benefits. As a face for the National Guard, I have made the decision to wear dress ACUs to every high school for at least 6 months until all of the facility, staff, and students have gotten to know me as their school's own professional National Guard Recruiter. After I have made my presence known and I feel that everyone feels comfortable with my military presence in the school, will I then begin wearing my other uniforms (OCP, APFU, and Soft Sell) during the recruiting day. My determination of which uniform to wear at school will be based on the activity or event that has been planned at the school for that day. For example, when I set up static displays during football games, I would wear OCPs. I have also worn OCPs during an Honor Guard Presentation of the Westmoreland County School Board Meeting. When assisting the Physical Education Instructors or the Athletic Director, Mr. Paul Heizer with physical activities for the students during school, I will wear my Army Physical Fitness Uniform (APFU) to exercise along with the students.
Recruiting and Sustainment Plan
Fisherman all over the world uses different types of bait to lure different types of fish into biting their hooks. The most successful fishermen select their bait wisely to take into consideration what type of fish they want to catch and in the waters of which they are fishing. Bait such as worms, minnows, insects, dough balls and clams are but a few of the lures that attract select fish during different weather conditions, temperatures and times of the year. Different types of fish live in different bodies of water all over the world such as lakes, streams, ponds, oceans, and seas. Since the dawn of time, fishermen have been passing down their successes with each other to maximize their knowledge base to help each other improve their fishing accomplishments.
Maximizing, my efforts by mirroring recruiting practices from successful recruiters that are mentoring me is the crux of my Recruiting and Sustainment Plan. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the First Quarter of my Primary Market is going to be focused on high school seniors at all of my assigned schools within the Northern Neck. I will coordinate at least one lunchroom display every school day at a different school during the months of October, November, and December. My Secondary Market will consist of sending out a mailing to high school graduates from the previous year and setting up static displays at the Rappahannock Community College to try and capture the more serious students in the evening. During this season my Tertiary Market will consist of trying to reach out to prior service soldiers through different activities in the community.
When the Second Quarter starts, I will refocus my efforts with my Primary Market being set on all of the high school juniors at all of my assigned schools within the Northern Neck. I will coordinate the setting up of a lunchroom display every school day at a different school during the months of January, February and March. I will also coordinate with the school counselors to give school presentations on the same day as the lunchroom display. Students at the local community college will be my Secondary Market during this time and the Tertiary Market will consist of reaching out to service members within the Inactive National Guard (ING). I will also contact the Readiness NCO (SFC Jonathan Warren) of Company B, 229th BEB, the local National Guard unit in my area and try and contact any discharged soldiers from the past three years to see if they are interested in putting on the uniform again.
As the seasons change and the Third Quarter starts, I will refocus my efforts back on all seniors of my assigned high schools within the Northern Neck within the months of April, May, and June. As graduation draws closer to the end of the school year, this becomes a prime time for undecided seniors to start looking for opportunities beyond high school. For college-bound seniors, I will be stressing the importance of having the plan to pay for college and how the educational benefits from the National Guard are a way to pay for their tuition. I will continue with the coordination of at least one lunchroom display every school day at a different school during the months listed above. I will contact any leads that I have contacted throughout the school year. My secondary Market will be high school juniors to be followed by my Tertiary Market of soldiers in the IRR who are wishing to return to active drilling status.
Lastly, the Fourth Quarter is the most difficult quarter due to high schools being on summer break from July through August. Throughout the summer I will stay in contact with the faculty and staff for the schools to assist with any summer programs or workshops. My Primary Market will be focused on prior service members from any component to join the National Guard. With the juniors returning as seniors in September, I will make them my Secondary Market. I will contact the previous year’s Leads I collected from juniors to follow up with their intent. I will continue coordinating with school counselors to set up at least one lunchroom display every school day at a different school. Reconnecting with high school seniors from the previous year will be my Tertiary Market of the Fourth Quarter; this will target the non-college-bound graduates still looking for employment opportunities. I will also seek out graduates looking to take advantage of the delayed entry or OSUT program to be able to start their second semester later than expected.
Recruiter Zone and School Zone are by far the two most informative programs that I am going to utilize as a recruiting and retention NCO. As an operator with these programs, I will be able to better track leads, applicants and recruits throughout their process in joining the Virginia Army National Guard. Other tools that can be found in RZ that I will utilize are Route Map, Hot Leads, Current Leads, My Work Zone/My View and People Overview to increase my productivity as an RRNCO. RZ has a multitude of actions and areas that I am looking forward to learning from my Area NCOIC and R&R Training NCO when I get back to my home state.
Recruiting in the Northern Neck of Virginia is going to have its challenges due to the great distances between assigned schools, the level of poverty within the community, and low test scores from the potential applicants in the surrounding counties. However, being taught a sound foundation of the basic principles of utilizing Recruiter Zone and School Zone, it has given me the confidence and the tools to be a successful Recruiter for the remainder of the fiscal year and my recruiting career. It is my intention to use this recruiting and sustainment plan as a building block to complete my mission from year to year. The programs within RZ and SZ and my willingness to remain flexible in adjusting my strategies as I gain more experience in the field as a Recruiting and Retention Non-Commissioned Officer will aid me in helping young adults achieve their goals of becoming Army National Guardsmen.
- Department of the Army and the Air Force National Guard Bureau (2006). Army National Guard Strength Maintenance Program: National Guard Regulation 601-1, 6-15
- Great Schools.org (1996-2019) https://www.greatschools.org/
- Public School Review. (2003-2019) Washington and Lee High School, New York, NY
- Rappahannock Community College (2019) Student Enrollment (Warsaw, Virginia) https://www.rappahannock.edu/about/institutional-effectiveness/quick-facts/
- Recruiter Zone - iKROme. (2019) School Zone (Army National Guard) U.S. Army http://ikrome.usaac.army.mil/group/RecruiterZone
- U.S. Department of Education. (2016) Virginia Community Profile, Northern Neck PDC (Virginia Employment Commission). Richmond, VA http://virginialmi.com