Recruiting – Join the Coast Guard Auxiliary

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Auxiliarist John Stewart talks to prospective members at the Norwalk International Boat Show. Photo by Auxiliarist Rande Wilson.

USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 72 in Norwalk, CT added 18 new members to its ranks in 2011. The membership has grown to 88 members as of year end, making it the largest flotilla in USCG District One (SR).  In fact, the Norwalk flotilla with new members and transfers grew from 65 members to 87 in a year.  This growth represents a 34% increase in 2011.

Article by Auxiliarist Rande Wilson, Norwalk, CT

Of the 18 new members, the recruiting class includes seven minorities and two females.  The new members are already making their presence felt with 1,000+ aggregate service hours from 2011’s new member class.  In addition, three of the new members have become qualified Interpreters, three are pilots, two joined specifically because of their interest in Auxiliary Air operations and two others are currently pursuing Air Observer qualification.

New Auxiliary Members are sworn in at Flotilla meeting at USCG Auxiliary Base in Norwalk, CT. Photo by Auxiliarist Rande Wilson.

How did John Stewart, Human Resources Officer for the Norwalk contingent, have such success?  According to Stewart, “half came from referrals from existing members that I followed-up on, two or three came from referrals from the National Website, one came from a lead on my LinkedIn profile and the rest came from emails to the Flotilla website or calls to the base phone.” Stewart put recruitment posters in area marine stores, libraries and grocery stores; this led to a few of the Flotilla website emails/base calls.  He encouraged pitching membership at USCG Auxiliary boating safety classes and talking about Auxiliary opportunities to anyone willing to listen.

“I enjoy the selling of the story, the need and two-way payback of Auxiliary activity, in fact once people realize the opportunity, the Auxiliary sells itself,” commented Stewart.

Staff Officer John Stewart talks Auxiliary to stand up paddle boarder on the docks at Norwalk Cove Marina. Photo by Auxiliarist Rande Wilson.

“Diversity is always a goal of the Auxiliary, but it is not particularly an area I do anything different to emphasize. Younger members are very desirable to change the mix and make the Flotilla more reflective of the population at large. The bottom line, if I get a lead, I go after it regardless. I am not doing anything differently to target a particular group or not,” he continued.

Member retention is also an important effort for Stewart; he follows up with members considering leaving for reasons other than age or movement out of the area. One that fit that profile, he convinced to stay until his work life will allow him to become more active.

Personnel Services Officer Stewart’s 2012 goal will again be to gain 10 new members.  “While 2011 was a big year, I hope to again exceed the goal,” commented Stewart. His key to success is prompt and informational follow-up without being pushy. He has developed a couple emails that he sent out to all new membership leads that is helpful to tell the basic story and provide information about the flotilla and the Auxiliary as a whole, yet it is not overwhelming.  He follows that up with a call to answer questions and clarify any items of interest.  Obviously, John Stewart has the recipe for success.

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  1. Como Rick Ives says:

    Your are doing a Great job, keep up the good work !!

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Outstanding! I’ll be talking to my FC and FSO-HR about this article.

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