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 moral leadership. 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.
Civil Air Patrol conducts its Cadet Program in a positive, safe, age-appropriate environment that follows a military model emphasizing Air Force traditions and values. Cadets have opportunities to lead, encounter challenges, and have fun as they work to become “Dynamic Americans and Aerospace Leaders.” CAP policy asserts that safety is a right and there is no place for physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in any of its programs. The CAP Cadet Protection Policy details the standards of practice that apply across all aspect of the program and can be found here.