While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, CAP’s cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone. Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP’s cadet program. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic).
Participation in search and rescues, both training and actual, is part of the CAP cadet life. CAP is responsible for saving an average of 70 lives per year and the cadets are an integral part of the mission.
Training starts with the basics of learning how to wear the uniform, courtesies and customs of the Air Force, with lessons on leadership and aviation history incorporated into the weekly meetings. The cadets grow through the program by increasing their knowledge of the program, practicing the leadership skills they learned and increasing their knowledge of aviation. The cadet starts in the cadet status and can go all the way up to cadet colonel.
Whatever your interests-survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy-there’s a place for you in CAP’s cadet program. Each year, cadets have the opportunity to participate in special activities at the local, state, regional or national level. Many cadets will have the opportunity to solo fly an airplane for the first time through a flight encampment or academy. Others will enjoy traveling abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Still others assist at major air shows throughout the nation.
Below is a list of some of the specialty encampments provided:
- Civic Leadership Academy for those that want a career in public service
- Emergency Services Academy which prepares cadets for actual missions
- Pararescue and Survival Orientation Course where cadets will be introduced to some of the skills and requirements of Pararescuemen (PJ’s), Combat Rescue Officers (CRO’s), and Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) Specialists
- Powered Flight Academy which prepares a cadet to solo a power single engine aircraft