Created shortly after the inception of Civil Air Patrol in 1941, the cadet program has proudly been a powerful tool in inspiring the youth of the time to handle the challenges tomorrow. As a cadet in Civil Air Patrol members are immersed into the skills they will need to achieve their goals. These goals very in a vast array from future pilots and engineers, to medical professionals and serving in the nations military. To help in these goals the cadet program is set up to revolve around five key areas of learning: aerospace education, leadership, drill & ceremonies, character development, and physical fitness. Additionally as a cadet, there is the opportunity to be involved in other functions too, such as emergency services or radio communications.
Getting Started as a Cadet:
In order to become a cadet in Civil Air Patrol there are several key steps. As the role youth play in an organization is highly valued, we ask that a parent or guardian at least visit part of one meeting. This requirement is to help make sure the parent/guardian is aware of what the youth is committing to as a CAP cadet. Additionally, to join CAP all prospective cadets must visit at least three meetings. By doing so it helps ensure to the prospective cadet that CAP is a right fit for them before paying any dues or making any commitments. The final step is completing the online application, which allows for membership as soon as approved by the unit commander.
After having the opportunity to be made a cadet member there is a program that has been created to help cadets smoothly enter Civil Air Patrol called Great Start. While a great start cadet they are paired with a senior ranking cadet who will help teach the cadet the fundamentals of the program such as how to promote, drill, and wear their uniform. At the same time cadets upon joining will be given their uniform to the greatest extent possible with squadron supplies, then help on where to purchase the remaining items. As a brand new cadet the "graduation" into the general cadet membership is done when they are promoted to their first rank: Cadet Airman.