Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Parents
- What are the requirements for being a cadet?
To join Civil Air Patrol as a cadet, one must be at least 12 years of age but not yet 19. Current members may stay as cadets until they turn 21.
- What is the Civil Air Patrol's relationship to the military? Is it paramilitary? Is there a service obligation?
Civil Air Patrol is the auxiliary component of the United States Air Force total force, meaning a group that provides supplementary support without being incorporated into the Air Force. It is a civilian-comprised, volunteer organization with no contract or military service obligation. CAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is federally-supported and chartered by Congress. Because of the Civil Air Patrol's auxiliary status, they may be called upon by military, governmental, law enforcement, or other agencies to perform emergency service missions. Civil Air Patrol maintains a close relationship to the United States Air Force, utilizing Air Force style uniforms by privilege.
- What are the benefits of being a cadet?
There are many great advantages to becoming a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. First, the program allows cadets to explore potential careers. Whether a cadet is interested in a career in the military, commercial aviation, space, emergency services, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), or cyber security, there is an opportunity to explore that career in the Civil Air Patrol. Secondly, cadets develop character and leadership qualities that are applicable outside of Civil Air Patrol and in their everyday lives. They are pushed to perform with excellence, discipline, and stand by their morals and values.
- What happens at the weekly meetings?
At weekly meetings, cadets do fun, challenging, and interesting activities such as physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, color guard, teamwork and leadership activities, etc. Leadership, character development, physical fitness, and safety are done monthly. Aerospace discussions or flight simulations occur more frequently.
- Do cadets do anything outside of meetings?
Outside of meetings, cadets have plenty of opportunities to participate in activities. On a squadron or group level, cadets may go on field trips, participate in parades, work actively in their communities, or attend search and rescue exercises. Cadets may go to the New York Leadership Encampment for one week in the summer at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, NY. Eventually, cadets can travel across America in National Cadet Special Activities. IACE, the International Air Cadet Exchange, is offered to cadets who reach Cadet Captain and 17 years of age.
- Who supervises cadets?
Adult volunteers from many different fields, who have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI, supervise cadets. These volunteers may include teachers, pilots, and even historians.
- How can I attend a meeting?
By visiting our contact page.