This page is here for you to get information about Civil Air Patrol and about what your child is doing every Wednesday evening. If you don't see something that you want to see or know about, please use the "Contact Us" page to send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!
What is Civil Air Patrol?
CAP is a volunteer, non-profit organization that also serves as the civilian auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force. Our three missions are to develop youth through a cadet program, educate Americans on the importance of aviation and space, and perform live-saving humanitarian missions. The program accepts new cadets who are at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old. It is a year-round program with weekly meetings at a local CAP squadron and additional activities on weekends or during the summer.
CAP is not a military or boarding school, but a youth development program that incorporates aviation and military customs and courtesies. Through their experiences as CAP cadets, young people develop into responsible citizens and become tomorrow's aerospace leaders. The leadership skills, self-confidence, and discipline cadets gain through CAP prepares them to achieve whatever goals they set for themselves in life.
To fulfill its goal of developing young people into responsible citizens and aerospace leaders, the Cadet Program is developed around five program elements: Leadership, Character Development, Aerospace Education, Physical Fitness, and Activities. As cadets participate in these five elements, they advance through a series of achievements, earning honors and increased responsibilities along the way.
What Civil Air Patrol Can Do For Your Child
The cadet program provides young adults between the ages of 12 and 21 a well rounded program of leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, and moral and ethical decision making. Many former cadets have gone into the military, government jobs, or private sector employment where they can and do make a difference, and really excel. There are many military general officers that were once CAP cadets. Senators and congressman, CEOs and corporate executives, and others credit their success to CAP. Many of the cadets from Naples Cadet Squadron have improved in their self discipline, leadership abilities, their knowledge of aerospace, and their physical fitness since they joined Civil Air Patrol.
Costs Of Being A Member
Fortunately the costs of being a member of Civil Air Patrol are minimal compared to other programs with the same goals. The first cost you will run into is membership dues, both National and Squadron. Currently National dues for Florida Wing are $47, and is renewed every year. The Squadron has initial dues for a new cadet and it covers incidentals such as a rank and achievement ribbons up through Phase II. These dues are $35 and is one time, until your cadet reaches Phase III.
With your National dues you receive the following: membership, books, and access to eServices, CAP's online portal. Upon completion of your child's first promotion, they will receive the basics of the Air Force style blues uniform- a flight cap, shirt, pants or skirt, and a belt- obtained through CAP's online resource, eServices. Cadets are required to purchase uniform items such as insignia and shoes to complete this uniform.
This brings up the second cost - uniforms. Upon joining, cadets may receive the blues uniform, but to get the most out of CAP cadets will need to purchase the ABU uniform. This can range anywhere between next to free all the way up to (and sometimes over) one hundred dollars. We understand that this is a high price, and we do have some uniform items to supply those unable to purchase their own uniform. We try to have a stockpile of uniforms on hand, however cadets run on the small side and most of our donations come from adults so those sizes are larger.
Other costs may include activity fees, which can range from around one hundred and fifty dollars (wing-level encampments, for instance) to over three hundred dollars for special national activities.
NOTE: The activity fees usually include lodging and meals for the duration of the activity (usually a week or more). Also note that smaller, squadron and group level activities usually cost no more than twenty five to thirty dollars, if anything at all.
What Goes On Each Week
Some parents might be wondering what Civil Air Patrol will be doing with their child. This is a general idea of what goes on each week.
- Arrival- Cadets arrive and sign in.
- Safety Briefing- A cadet safety officer or member of the cadet executive staff will give a safety briefing on a multitude of topics.
- Meeting Opens- Cadet executive staff open meeting with Pledge of Allegiance and Cadet Oath.
- Formation/Inspection- Cadets fall outside for a squadron formation and usually a uniform inspection. During the inspection cadets are graded on their overall appearance according to the Civil Air Patrol uniform manual.
- Main Activity- Each week we have a main activity that ranges from physical training to knowledge testing to promoting in grade.
- Secondary Activity- Another activity follows the main activity, which could be anywhere from a class on aerospace to an informal class on CAP history.
- Drill and Ceremonies- Every week we do drill and ceremonies. This includes marching and doing stationary drill movements.
- Announcements- Cadet and senior members give announcements such as encampment dates or the uniform for the next meeting.
- Meeting Closes- Cadet executive staff closes meeting and cadets are dismissed.
Other Opportunities Within Civil Air Patrol
Cadet and senior members can participate in so many more activities than just weekly meetings. Cadets can attend activities throughout the year such as leadership encampments and high adventure activities. Here is a short list of some activities cadets can attend:
- Encampments- CAP holds leadership encampments, which are kind of like basic training for CAP, every summer and winter. These events are held on a military base and consist of a week of intensive training in all things CAP. Cadets must attend an encampment to become a cadet officer.
- National Blue Beret- This is one of CAP's National Cadet Special Activities. During this activity, cadets attend the nation's largest air show and conduct flight line marshalling, participate in flight line security, and conduct emergency services missions. It is two weeks long.
- Pararescue Jumper Orientation Course- This activity lets your child spend a little over a week with Air Force Pararescuemen, being trained in what they do and getting shown what day to day life for an Air Force Pararescuemen entails.
- Honor Guard Academy- This is an activity entirely dedicated to drill and ceremonies. Cadets will learn all the ins and outs of a Civil Air Patrol Honor Guard, and upon graduation become a member of the Civil Air Patrol Honor Guard.
Question: I Want To Stay At The Meetings With My Child, Can I Do This?
Quick answer- Yes.
Extended answer- There are a couple ways you can stay at the meetings with your child. First, if you wish, you can stay as just a parent and observe. Several parents remain around the squadron because of commuting time. We just ask that you remain quiet and understand you may have to move as we keep getting larger in size. Or you can become a member of CAP. There are two types of adult members in CAP - sponsor member or full-fledged senior member. A sponsor member is an adult member of CAP that is not a full senior member, therefore cannot get all the benefits of being a senior member, but can still chaperon at cadet activities. To learn more about becoming a member of CAP, please visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or speak with a senior member in the cadet office at the next meeting.