How much does it cost for membership?
Annual membership dues vary by state. Please click here to view the current membership dues table. Cadets receive their first blue Air Force style uniform at no cost and will receive a new member kit with learning materials. Additional activities may have fees to cover lodging and meals.
How old does my child have to be to join?
Your child can join CAP as a cadet if they are at least 12 years old and before they turn 19. Cadets can stay in the program until they turn 21 as long as they have not entered active duty and are enrolled in a school.
Are they expected to join the military?
No, they do not have to join the military, but many choose to do so. 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. But no matter what career they choose, the skills learned in CAP will be invaluable.
How much time will they have to give each week?
To get the most out of the cadet program, they should participate regularly. Like any other activity, they’ll get out of CAP only what they put into it. Our squadron meets weekly for about 2 hours and offers special activities on occasional weekends and during the summer.
Can they learn how to fly?
You son or daughter will have the opportunity to fly in a CAP plane and possibly a military aircraft. CAP doesn’t teach cadets to fly, but they can compete for scholarships that will help pay for a pilot’s license.
Who leads and supervises the cadets?
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. All adult members also take a Cadet Protection course as part of their initial training.
Do cadets need to maintain a certain grade point average to participate in CAP?
School should always come first for the cadets. 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.
Why do cadets wear uniforms?
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.
What uniforms do cadets wear?
The basic cadet uniform is the short-sleeve Air Force style blue uniform. Most cadets also choose to wear the optional BDU (camouflage) uniform.
How do cadets obtain uniforms?
New cadets are eligible to receive the Air Force style blue uniform at no cost to them through the Cadet Uniform Program, 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, but most of the time you will need to purchase the items through the CAP uniform store www.vanguardmil.com, or they may be purchased through the clothing sales store on military installations.
What’s involved with cadet orientation flights?
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.
How do cadets advance and earn promotions?
Cadets advance at their own pace through self-study and group study. To progress, cadets must (1) participate actively; (2) pass a leadership test; (3) pass an 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.
Does CAP offer any scholarships?
Yes. See the scholarships page at capmembers.com for more details.
Can I be involved with my teen?
Absolutely, and we encourage it! Some opportunities to share in the CAP experience are:
Cadet Sponsor Member -- Just like any other youth organization, CAP relies on parents to help support the program. Parents do have to undergo the same background screening process and cadet protection training as the other adult members and first year dues are just slightly cheaper than normal senior member pricing. As a parent sponsor, you'll be able to help chaperone the kids, ride or drive in the CAP vehicles, and otherwise help the other adult volunteer members. You will not be required to wear the Air Force-style uniform.
Senior Member -- If you are more interested in taking a leadership role in the Cadet Program, or want to participate in CAP's aerospace education and emergency services missions, you should join as a senior member.. Talk with your child’s squadron commander about joining as a senior member. You will need to submit and complete a membership application, fingerprint card and complete an orientation course. Annual membership dues vary by state. Please click here to view the membership dues table.
Can my child join if they have a medical condition or disability?
Civil Air Patrol does not preclude membership due to medical conditions or disabilities. However, participation in certain activities may be limited depending on the condition, illness or disability.
Guidance for Parents.
CAP is a Cadet run/lead program. This means that your son/daughter should learn to use their voice/presence to get the information they need to have a successful CAP experience. Examples:
YOUR CADET should respond directly if they have a conflict and unable to attend a meeting, event, or activity.
Note: Missing some key meetings may preclude them from promoting that month (ex PT, Character Development, etc.) so every effort should be made to attend the weekly meeting.
YOUR CADET should leverage their assigned mentor to get basic questions, guidance addressed. If they are not getting the information they need, encourage them to use their chain of command to escalate accordingly.
The senior leadership is of course always available, just be aware our first response might be- “what did the cadet commander say?”
Your support in pushing your cadet toward solving their own problems, doing their own speaking/communicating (vs your getting involved) not only helps them integrate within the squadron but AS IMPORTANTLY, will help the squadrons existing cadets with their leadership development in helping your cadet. Following this guidance helps cadets learn good leadership and good followership . . .
Work with your cadet to understand WHY they are joining CAP. While CAP has ranks and grades in a similar fashion to Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, the real value/difference that CAP represents vs these other organizations is “Real World” application of the learned skills. Examples of the real-world application of these skills include: flying both powered planes and gliders, going on search and rescue missions for downed aircraft, lost hikers, Alzheimer patients and Disaster response in their local community emergencies/disasters, etc.. In order to complete these missions effectively though, they must be qualified. CAP offers a step by step qualification process so that prior to being put in a real-world situation, they have demonstrated the necessary knowledge to carry out the mission safely and competently. Based on the real-world application of the skills cadets learn in CAP, it is important for cadets to not only work toward promoting in rank, but also advancing toward more and more responsibility in aeronautical education, emergency services,etc. so they may actually apply what they are learning.
Understand that one of our core missions is in the area of emergency services- finding downed aircraft, lost people, etc. These missions do not occur during good weather, optimal time of week, day, etc. These missions however are an invaluable experience for your cadet to APPLY all that they have been studying, testing, and working toward. All effort should be made to attend these missions- besides, he/she may just save someone’s life!
O-Flights are an amazing opportunity for CAP cadets! These O-Flights (short for orientation flights) are a fun way for cadets to experience powered flight for themselves to better understand if this is an area they would like to pursue. New cadets actually have PRIORITY over older cadets and will have the opportunity to take the controls of the plane . . . on their very first flight! We generally have O-flights available on a monthly basis. Notification of these flights are discussed during our meetings and are usually accompanied with e-mails too. Ask your cadet about this!
o Flight training is available for cadets on a limited basis. If you are interested contact your Senior Command staff.