The mission of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is to transform youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders.  The Cadet Program brings the benefits of CAP's character education, fitness, leadership, and aerospace curriculum into community for middle and high school students as a weekly after-school program.

Check out our Program Overview.
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 character development. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic). 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. Whatever your interests-survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy-there's a place for you in CAP's cadet program.

Air Force Affiliation
Cadets are never obligated to join the military, nor does CAP attempt to recruit cadets for the armed forces. However, the uniform, military customs and courtesies, and drill and ceremonies are important features of cadet life that contribute to individual self-discipline. Moreover, 10% of the cadets at the Air Force Academy got their start in CAP.


Cadet Advancement
The Cadet Program is a self-paced program of sixteen achievements. Cadets complete one task in each element of cadet life — leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character — during each achievement. There is a degree of academic rigor to the program; cadets study their textbooks and must pass written tests to advance. Along the way, cadets earn promotions, acquire new leadership responsibilities, and collect awards. 


Value Added to the School Year
Some of the benefits students receive by joining CAP include:

  • Develop leadership skills
  • Experience the thrill of flying
  • Test-fly potential careers
  • Earn rank and awards
  • Qualify for college scholarships
  • Solidify their moral character
  • Make friends and have fun   
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