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Civil Air Patrol offers numerous curriculum activities and materials in fulfillment of both its External and Internal Aerospace Education Mission.
External Aerospace Education
The External AE Program presents aerospace education to the public and particularly to schools. This is accomplished through academic programs within the educational systems and through contacts between CAP members and their communities.
(1) Aerospace Education Member (AEM)
AEM is a special membership category open to educators or any reputable individual or organization that has a desire to promote the aerospace objectives and purpose of CAP, but who have limited membership privileges. (See CAPR 39-2, Civil Air Patrol Membership, for more information.)
The CAPF 13, CAP Aerospace Education Membership Application, is used to enroll into the AEM category. AEMs promote aerospace education to their students, peers and the general public.
(2) Aerospace Education Workshops
CAP makes an outstanding contribution to the educational system by supporting aerospace education workshops in school systems and colleges throughout the country. These workshops are designed to provide educators with a basic knowledge of aerospace and can be a part of an educational institution’s course of study.
(3) Aerospace Education in Local Schools and Other Community Organizations
CAP personnel will cooperate with schools and other community organizations by promoting aerospace education efforts; providing aerospace education units of instruction; assisting with materials, people and appropriate programs; arranging field trips; etc.
Internal Aerospace Education
The Internal AE Program provides basic aerospace knowledge to both senior members and cadet members.
The Aerospace Education Program for Senior Members should be an integral part of every senior member’s CAP experience. It consists of five elements:
1. The Yeager Test
This element is a self-paced study based on the Textbook Aerospace: The Journey of Flight. All senior members have the responsibility to read and become knowledgeable about the content of this text. Once members are ready to take the Yeager test, they can do so online within eServices or using offline paper-based options. Members are encouraged to take the test online. Members completing any of the options will receive the Charles E. "Chuck” Yeager Aerospace Education Achievement Award and are authorized to wear the Yeager Award ribbon.
2. Aerospace Education Management Skills Development
This element involves the orientation and training of unit AEOs. The CAPP 215 specialty track, developed specifically for AE staff professional growth, is available on the CAP website. The specialty track consists of three phases: Technician; Senior; and Master. All three phases are evaluated by a written examination (available online) and by demonstrated performance. Achievement of the Technician rating in the Aerospace Education Officer specialty track authorizes the wearing of the AE badge.
A bronze star is added to the AE badge upon achievement of the Senior rating. A gold star replaces the bronze star after achievement of the Master rating. When the Master specialty track rating is earned and the CAP member is an active aerospace education officer, as certified by the commander, the CAP member will be awarded the A. Scott Crossfield Award.
3. Aerospace Education Leadership Requirements
This element outlines the leadership required for the AE portion of the CAP mission. The term "leadership” applies to every CAP member and specifically to commanders and AE officers. Commanders at all levels should demonstrate support for the AE mission and staff each authorized AE position with individuals who conduct and support aerospace education in the unit.
Region, wing, unit commanders and AE officers provide leadership and assistance to ensure an effective AE program.
4. Individual Aerospace Continuing Education
This element establishes the obligation for each senior member to create his/her own individual continuing education program on aerospace topics. Every member has a personal obligation to sustain a level of aerospace knowledge that will ensure a strong professional organization. Reading professional magazines, journals, and books is a way to achieve this element. Unit AEOs can facilitate individual continuing aerospace education by conducting aerospace education programs including such things as hands-on activities, guest speakers, and field trips.
5. Aerospace Education Outreach
This element makes it the responsibility of all senior members, and not just unit AEOs, to promote aerospace education within CAP and in their communities. Visiting schools, talking with educators and school administrators, giving school presentations, writing newspaper articles and directing a unit hands-on activity are among those examples that exemplify the fulfillment of this element.
Aerospace education is also a major part of the cadet program. Cadets study aerospace books and perform hands-on aerospace activities in a group or by themselves. Cadets must complete formal aerospace education requirements to progress through the various achievements of the cadet program. Cadets must complete staff duty analyses, one of which is Aerospace Education Officer, and serve as aerospace mentors to other cadets. CAPR 52-16, Cadet Program Management, defines the cadet program and outlines the aerospace education requirements.