thinking about joining?
Anyone age 12-18 can join the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet Member and take advantage of all that CAP Cadet Programs have to offer. Teens develop character, get involved in helping others and learn leadership skills they can use for a lifetime! To get started, just contact us to attend the squadron's next weekly meeting.
Today's cadets are tomorrow's aerospace leaders. Through its Cadet Program, Civil Air Patrol transforms youth aged 12 to 20 into responsible citizens.
CAP is the volunteer, non-profit auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Its three missions are to develop its cadets, educate Americans on the importance of aviation and space, and perform live-saving humanitarian missions.
CADET LIFE VIDEO
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to the CAP Cadet Program
Strategic Overview of the Cadet ProgramGUIA PARA PADRES
en EspanolVolunteer Opportunities
Parents are welcome to participate in CAP. No prior military service or special skills are required. Whether you want to help chaperone cadets once in a while or become a full-fledged senior member active in CAP missions, we would love to have you get involved in CAP.
Parents Committee - help arrange carpools, plan social events, raise funds, and connect the squadron to your hometown by serving on an informal parents' committee
- To volunteer, talk with your son's or daughter's squadron commander.
Cadet Sponsor Member - occasionally support cadets as a chaperone or driver
- To volunteer,talk with the squadron commander, who will give you a membership application, help you get fingerprinted, and complete an orientation course. Annual dues vary by state.
Senior Member - take a leadership role in the Cadet Program, and/or participate in CAP's aerospace education and emergency services missions
- To volunteer, talk with the squadron commander, who will give you a membership application, help you get fingerprinted and complete an orientation course. Annual dues vary by state.
Any time you have a question or concern about CAP, please feel free to contact your son's or daughter's squadron commander. If local leaders are unable to resolve the issue to your satisfaction, the wing headquarters, which oversees all the squadrons in your state, will be glad to help. Use the unit locator to find contact information (click your state, and then click the link for the "001 Wing Headquarters" unit).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does it cost to join CAP?
A: Annual membership dues can vary. But, usually fees are limited to about $33-55 per year.
Q: What are the age requirements for joining CAP?
A: Youth aged 12-18 may join CAP as cadets and remain cadets until age 21. In special school program squadrons, sixth graders may join, even if they are under age 12. Of course, adults of any age are welcome to join CAP, too.
Q: Are cadets obligated to join the military?
A: No, but many do. Cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award may enter the Air Force at an advanced grade (E-3) if they choose to enlist. The service academies and ROTC also look favorably on CAP experience. Approximately 10% of the USAF Academy cadet corps got their start in CAP.
Q: What level of commitment is expected from cadets?
A: CAP expects cadets to participate actively, but of course CAP recognizes that cadets have school, family, and other obligations that take priority. Most squadrons meet weekly for about 2 1/2 hours, and offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer. If your son or daughter is unable to attend a CAP activity, please have them let their commander know in advance. Like any extra-curricular activity, cadets will get out of CAP only what they put into it.
Q: Who leads and supervises the cadets?
A: CAP takes its responsibility to safeguard youth very seriously. The adult volunteers who interact with cadets (known as CAP senior members) have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI. Also, as part of their leadership training, advanced cadets lead and mentor new cadets under the guidance of senior members. For more information, see ourcadet protection policy.
Q: Do cadets need to maintain a certain grade point average to participate in CAP?
A: Of course, school comes first. CAP expects cadets to maintain "satisfactory performance" at school, as defined by the cadet's parents. Because CAP emphasizes self-discipline, it's not uncommon for parents to see their son's or daughter's grades increase as a result of their participation in the Cadet Program.
Q: Why do cadets wear uniforms?
A: CAP uses uniforms to promote teamwork and develop self-discipline. The uniform motivates cadets to set high standards for themselves and to live their core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect. Additionally, cadets practice military customs and courtesies as part of their leadership training.
Q: What uniforms do cadets wear?
A: The basic cadet uniform is the short-sleeve Air Force style blue uniform. Most cadets also choose to wear the optional BDU (camouflage) uniform.
Q: How do cadets obtain uniforms?
A: New cadets are eligible to receive the Air Force style blue uniform at no cost to them through the Cadet Uniform Program, upon joining (depending on the availability of Air Force funding). See your local squadron commander for details. BDUs and other uniform items may be available through your squadron's supply, and may be purchased through the clothing sales store on military installations.
Q: How do cadets obtain uniform insignia?
A: Vanguard is CAP's official supplier of uniform insignia. Here is a list of the insignia needed for the "blues" and "BDU" uniforms:
Air Force "Blues" UniformCamouflage "BDU" UniformFlight cap device - CAP0748A"Civil Air Patrol" cloth tape - CAP0599K3-Line nameplate - CAP0599MCloth nametape (last name) - CAP0599HACAP cutouts - CAP0820US Flag patch (reverse) - 4432430 CAP cutouts - CAP0820Note: only one set of CAP cutouts is needed, even if the cadet has both uniforms
Q: Where do the patches, insignia, etc. go on the uniform?
A: See the uniform mini-posters (PDF) included in your son's or daughter's member kit.
Q: What's involved with cadet orientation flights?
A: Through orientation flights in powered aircraft and gliders, cadets experience flight first-hand. CAP's pilots are licensed by the FAA, follow a syllabus for each flight, and ensure the flight is conducted safely. Orientation flights are free to cadets. See the squadron commander for information about when the next opportunity to fly is scheduled.
Q: How do cadets advance and earn promotions?
A: Cadets advance at their own pace through self-study and group study (see cadet superchart). To progress, cadets must (1) participate actively; (2) pass a written leadership test; (3) pass a written aerospace test; (4) pass a physical fitness test; (5) participate in character development forums; and most of all (6) demonstrate they have the maturity to accept increased responsibility. (In some stages of the Cadet Program, these requirements differ slightly.)
Q: Does CAP have activities outside the squadron meetings?
A: Yes. Visit our Activities page for information about Encampment, Leadership Schools, National Special Activities, and more.
Q: Does CAP offer any scholarships?
A: Yes. See our scholarships page for details.
Additional Questions & Concerns
Q: I have more questions about CAP. Where can I find answers?
A: CAP's on-line Knowledgebase is a great source for more information about CAP programs. Of course, your son's or daughter's squadron commander will also be glad to answer your questions.
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Thinking about Joining?
If you are a young man or woman interested in the cadet program feel free to join us at one of our meetings. We’d like you to visit us three times before you sign (and pay membership fees) so you’re sure this is for you. You’ll be assigned to our Great Start group and begin learning about CAP right away.
For prospective new cadets who have not yet purchased a uniform, we ask only that you comply with Prince William County Schools’ dress code. Then, once you join we’ll teach you how to wear the USAF-style CAP Cadet Uniform.
Upcoming Meetings and EventsPrince William Composite Squadron follows the Prince William County Schools Closing Procedure.
We meet Tuesday nights at 7pm, at the National Guard Armory on Dumfries Road in Manassas, VA. We observe the following uniform rotation:
1st Tuesday: PT Gear
2nd Tuesday: BDU
3rd Tuesday: Blues
4th Tuesday: BDU
On months when there are five Tuesdays, we hold special meeting nights such as parent meetings, fun nights, or extra training.
New Cadets and Parents InformationLetter from our Squadron Commander
Parents Night 29 October 2013
Virginia Wing Cadet Programs
National CAP website information for New Cadets
National CAP website information for Parents
How to add parent contact information to e-services
Parents and Guardians may join Civil Air Patrol as Cadet Sponsor Members. As a Cadet Sponsor Member, you’ll be able to support your cadet by acting as a chaperone or a driver during activities. For more information, please see the cadet staff. As of October 14, 2013, dues for Cadet Sponsor Members are $30 per year to join, $20 per year to renew. Cadet Sponsor Members only pay National dues, unlike other members who contribute squadron dues.
Cadet Program StaffCivil Air Patrol is a volunteer organization, but takes our cadet program very seriously. CAP offers specialized training for adults who train youth in leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, character development, and special activities.
For an example of this type of training, see Training Leaders of Cadets.
All adult members who work with cadets are required to undergo an FBI background check and are fingerprinted.
Contact UsWe encourage cadets to contact their ‘chain of command’ with any questions they may have. On their first visit, they will be assigned to our “Great Start” Flight and linked with a mentor who will guide them as they integrate with us.
However, we realize that there are times when you need information right away, and parents of cadets are always free to contact the cadet program staff at any time.
To contact the cadet program staff, please use the form below.
here's what people are saying...
“The Cadet Program has changed my life for the better.
Within Civil Air Patrol I have found confidence, passion and a strive to do better in everything I do. When I first joined Civil Air Patrol I was quiet, did not like to get up in front of people, and did not want to be in charge. I also had no major interest in science, engineering, technology, or aerospace. I am now able to take charge of a group and lead them to complete a given task. I am comfortable giving lessons and am pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering.” -- IACE Cadet Applicant