During World War II, CAP trained thousands of young men to fly before they joined the Army Air Forces (AAF). This training, coupled with positive values instilled by role models, resulted in the AAF having a pool of aviators virtually ready to do battle. After the war, the success of the wartime cadet program convinced the United States Congress that a peacetime cadet program would pay great dividends. For more than 70 years since then, thousands of boys and girls from 12 years through age 21 (must have joined prior to 18th birthday) have had the opportunity to develop their maturity, leadership skills, confidence, community service, and character through their participation in Civil Air Patrol's Cadet Programs.
"Your final mission is the cadet program. There, your job is to inspire the country's youth to become leaders and good citizens through their interest in aerospace. And to me, that is by far, your most important mission."
While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, CAP's cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone. Cadets are introduced to aviation through CAP's Aerospace Education and Orientation Ride programs, and Activities make the cadet program one of the most interesting and exciting youth programs available in the country today. Many cadets will have the opportunity to solo fly an airplane for the first time through a flight encampment or academy, and all cadets are eligible to receive 5 Orientation rides in a powered aircraft and 5 Glider rides in on of CAP's corporate -owned gliders at no cost to the cadet.
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Cadet Leadership Program
The cadet leadership program is an excellent opportunity for young people to discover and pursue their goals and interests earlier on than many of their peers. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program that includes:
Cadets join as Cadet Airman Basics (C/AB) and progress through the program by taking leadership and aerospace exams, physical fitness tests, attending activities, as well as serving in ever progressing leadership positions. Cadets work towards completion of the five milestone awards in the cadet program named after the Wright Brothers, General Billy Mitchell, Amelia Earhart, General Ira C. Eaker, and General Carl A. Spaatz.
As cadets make progress, they have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities held at the local (squadron or group), state (wing), region and national levels. These activities range from simple overnight Field Training Exercises and weekend-long Cadet Training Schools, to week-long Cadet Encampments on military bases (an activity that is styled after military "boot camp") and National Cadet Special Activities all of which enable the cadet to participate in emergency services training, communications, and take on roles that develop them in leadership positions. Cadets that reach the grade of Cadet Captain (C/Capt) may apply for International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) and serve as an overseas ambassador of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program to one of several foreign countries. Some of these exchange cadets even experience flying opportunities with foreign air forces! Many just find themselves very active in their home communities participating in activities that include marching in parades, providing color guards for formal functions for other community groups, providing a uniformed presence at functions honoring veterans, or just taking a look around and organizing activities that improve quality of life around their communities.
For cadets moving onto college after high school graduation, service in the Civil Air Patrol can be looked upon favorably by admissions boards and cadets have an improved chance of receiving acceptance into ROTC programs. Through CAP's National Scholarship Program, cadets can compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Scholarships leading to solo flight training are also provided. Many cadets apply and gain acceptance to one of the service academies; The Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs in Colorado. (Usually 8-10 percent of the academy class is composed of former CAP cadets); the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in Maryland; or the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York. CAP cadets who enlist in the Air Force are immediately promoted two pay grades (to E-3) if they have completed the second phase of CAP cadet training.
1994 marked the introduction of the CAP Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDR). Targeted toward Active, Guard, and Reserve Air Force family members and members of the local community (typically within 30 miles of an Air Force installation), units participating in DDR actively perform the following activities:
Promoting CAP as an alternative lifestyle
Encouraging youth to remain in school
Educating youth on the dangers of drugs
Providing alternative activities to drugs
Adult members (CAP Senior Members) work with cadets providing training, mentoring and supervision.
Whatever your or your child's interests may be - survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy - there's a place for you and them in CAP's cadet program. And it is an excellent opportunity to meet and participate with kids their own age that may come from different schools and walks of life, but who have similar interests, hobby's and life goals.
So if you're looking for something more exciting to do on the weekends and you want to give yourself an edge in life, join us at a squadron meeting or contact us for more information.