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Cadet Programs

Would you like to honor and serve America?
Do you want to prepare for your future while making new friends?
Then rise to the challenge of cadet membership in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol.

The CAP cadet program is comprised of five main elements:

  • Leadership.  CAP cadets learn the basic principles of leadership and they are given many formal and informal opportunities to lead.  This training provides cadets with a life-long skill set that helps them to be successful students, employees, managers, and citizens!  Cadets are able to develop their leadership skills through leadership roles and many local, state, and national activities!

  • Aerospace.  Many of our cadets come to the organization with a love of aviation and space exploration, but many others do not.  However, all CAP cadets learn about the history and science of air and space and their importance to our society and our national security.  Our cadets participate in monthly aerospace education classes, which involve activities ranging from learning how planes fly to building and launching model rockets.  CAP cadets are also eligible for Orientation Flights, where experienced CAP pilots take them flying free of cost!

  • Fitness.  Current research has shown that our lifelong physical fitness habits are developed in large part during adolescence.  CAP cadets participate in monthly group physical fitness activities and must pass a physical fitness test for each promotion.  The focus of this aspect of the CAP cadet program is on team building, camaraderie, and developing healthy living habits.

  • Character.  The CAP cadet program strives to produce the best possible future leaders and citizens for America.  Integral to this goal is helping cadets discuss ethical dilemmas in a controlled, classroom setting.  Each month, all cadets participate in a Character Development discussion.  Cadets also give and receive mentoring and feedback to help them grow as leaders and people.

  • Activities - Cadet Program's activities element is designed for cadets to apply their leadership skills, explore aerospace careers and display their overall enthusiasm for the cadet ethic. Each squadron decides what activities it undertakes based on the interests of its leaders and members. All units should strive to be well-rounded and offer activities encompassing all three CAP missions.

The CAP Cadet Program is a year-round program where Cadets fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits. If you’re dreaming about a career in aviation, space, or the military, CAP’s Cadet Program is for you.
To become a cadet, you must be be at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old.  Cadets usually meet 2 hours per week and one Saturday per month, on average, and also have opportunities to attend leadership encampments, career academies, and other activities during the summer. 

“I am pushing myself to be a better person.”
- Cadet Kristin Miller
“I made my first solo flight at a CAP encampment.”
- Astronaut Eric Boe
“I’ve learned discipline – something not stressed enough in today’s society.”
- Cadet Theresa Paredes

Cadet FAQ's

How old do I have to be to join?

Are non U.S. Citizens allowed to join?

Can I join if I have a medical condition or disability?

Do cadets need to maintain a certain GPA to participate in CAP?

Do cadets have to join the military?

How often do cadets meet?

Who leads and supervises the cadets?

What uniforms do cadets wear?

Does CAP teach cadets to fly?

Does CAP offer any scholarships?

How do cadets earn rank in CAP?

Can parents be in CAP?

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