Cadet Programs


Wire CrawlAs a Cadet in Civil Air Patrol, you'll learn a lot about yourself. Most importantly, you'll learn what you're capable of--and it's much more than you think. The entire cadet program is built around a philosophy of constantly pushing beyond your comfort zone mentally, physically, and socially. To succeed, you'll need to think on your feet, take charge, break a sweat, and work seamlessly as a member of a team--every day. If you want those things to be second-nature to you, come test your limits with CAP.


EncampmentCAP stands apart from most youth organizations by giving Cadets a very large and active role in the leadership and planning of Cadet activities. This is possible because Cadets start to learn to lead and manage only after mastering the art of working on a team with a common goal, and move incrementally through a diverse range of leadership roles and responsibilities. Promotions through CAP's Cadet rank structure require that Cadets take on increased responsibility in their program through their whole Cadet career, and gives them the tools they need to be effective, dynamic team players and leaders for the rest of their lives.


CAP GliderCAP has helped countless young people get off of the ground for the first time, from Astronaut Eric Boe to Thunderbird Nicole Malokowski. One of our three missions is Aerospace Education, which we accomplish through field trips, classroom academics, and hands on activities with rockets, robotics, and airplanes. Not least of our AE mission of course, is introducing young people to flying. Every Cadet can take up to 10 free, front-seat flights in CAP glider and powered aircraft, giving them the chance to take the controls with a structured curriculum, introduce them to the principles of flight, prepare them for formal flight instruction, and have fun! Cadets can also earn solo pilot ratings in glider, powered, and balloon aircraft with CAP equipment, instructors, and activities! 


Ground TeamCAP serves several important missions. Most well-known outside the Cadet Program are search and rescue, and disaster relief. CAP Members work together with the US Air Force, and other government agencies to provide vital ground and air services. Our Emergency Services mission is to aid in the preservation of human life and property during times of crisis ranging from lost aircraft to hurricanes. The training is challenging, and real missions are doubly-so, but the results are their own reward. From communications and aerial reconnaissance to ground search and rescue, we offer the chance to participate in exciting outdoor adventures with a sense of purpose.


Color GuardThe CAP Cadet Program is structured to build upon past successes and lessons learned. Cadets learn and lead incrementally, starting out with small responsibilities, building on those responsibilities to eventually take charge of large projects, groups of people, and inventories.  Along the way, more experienced Cadets and Senior Members guide these future leaders through their assignments to ensure that they are building on past successes and lessons learned to eventually become self-directed, creative, confident, and effective team members and leaders.


Color GuardLocal CAP units provide thousands of hours of community service each year in every way imaginable. Cadets learn the value of giving-back in a rewarding and fun way by supporting local community events, such as MacDill Airfest, and larger regional events such as the Sun and Fun Fly In. Most school programs require their students to meet a community service requirement, and CAP Cadets have numerous opportunities to fulfill these requirements while having a great time with friends.


Team WorkMost Cadets join for the flying, CAP's military aspects, or because of the sense of purpose the program instills. The reason that Cadets stay in CAP, though, is the long-lasting friendships they develop. Most former Cadets will tell you the same thing: in nearly every corner of the country there is someone they consider to be one of their closest, most reliable friends who they never would have met were it not for CAP. The friendships that Cadets form are rooted in shared interests, challenges met, and successes earned, and are formed beyond the normal scope of their local neighborhood or school.


IACEIn addition to local and state-wide activities, more experienced Cadets can participate in nation-wide National Cadet Special Activities (NCSAs) and the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE). These prestigious activities provide unique glimpses into the worlds of aviation, Air Force, and leadership careers. The International Air Cadet Exchange takes Cadets on a two-week trip to visit places of cultural, military, and aviation importance in one of a wide array of foreign countries. Cadets who've gone agree that it is an eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime privilege!