Whatever your interests - survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy - there's a place for you in the Civil Air Patrol'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.
The CAP Cadet Program trains young men and women in teamwork, moral leadership, aerospace education, technical skills to support emergency services, and military history and customs. Through national encampments, a college and flight training scholarship program, and the International Air Cadet Exchange, CAP cadets broaden their horizons, learn to assume responsibility, feel self-confidence, and set goals for their lives.
The CAP Cadet Program has its foundation in the military tradition that comes from being the Auxiliary of the United States Air Force. CAP cadets learn aerospace, leadership, moral and ethical skills, and many other useful life skills in a structured environment. Cadets have the opportunity to learn leadership through hands-on leadership opportunities such as being a Flight Sergeant, support staff positions, or one of many other positions. By actually leading fellow cadets toward a common goal, CAP cadets learn teamwork, planning, time management, and leadership skills.
The program is based on four phases whereby cadets learn more and advance through demonstrating their mastery of the knowledge. Through each of the four phases, cadets promote through ranks similar to Air Force enlisted ranks (click here for a chart of CAP ranks). Cadets start at the "bottom of the totem pole" but can advance to a position where they are leading others. CAP believes strongly that one must learn to follow before learning how to lead. A Milestone Award ends each of the four phases. These awards require a special dedication to the program and performance. Attaining certain awards allows cadets to be given more responsibilities, attend more activities, and be eligible for more aspects of the cadet program.
One of the greatest parts of the CAP Cadet Program is the special activities. Cadets can attend many different activities throughout their CAP career. Cadets can travel to foreign countries, learn to rescue injured persons, spend time at the Air Force's Space Command Headquarters, learn to fly, and many other opportunities.
Members between the ages of 12 and 18 who join the Southeast Minnesota Composite Squadron immediately begin the Cadet Program. Throughout each month on meeting nights, cadets will receive training in leadership, drill and ceremonies, customs and courtesies, uniform wear, emergency services, aerospace education, moral leadership, safety, and participate in a physical fitness test.
More training is available on the weekends, ranging from cadet programs activities, emergency services training, and aerospace education exercises. The squadron runs some of these training activities while others are run at the Wing level. Cadets are required to attend at least one squadron sponsored activity per promotion. Cadets are encouraged to attend at least one activity per month.
Cadets wishing to promote to Cadet Officer ranks or participate in any national special activities, including Flight Academy, must first attend a 7-day training event called Encampment. Currently, the Minnesota Wing Encampment happens in June, though there are other encampments available.
We ask that all cadet members give the program at least one year of commitment. We expect cadets to attend at least three meetings every month but would prefer them to make all meetings. We do understand that cadets have other priorities such as school, sports, family, and jobs to name a few. We do ask the cadets to choose a balance that works for everyone. A cadet who participates in more than two sports during the school year will not get as much out of the program as the cadet who does not participate in sports.
Absences from the meetings are expected and accepted, provided the cadet lets the appropriate supervisor know when they will be gone.
It sounds like a big commitment, and it is. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. The Cadet Program is nationally recognized for its excellence in teaching skills that will prepare you for the future as no other program can. The Southeast Minnesota Composite Squadron is dedicated to teaching cadets and developing future leaders regardless of what their life goals are.