Civil Air Patrol

Cadet Program – At a Glance*

Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program transforms youth into dynamic Americans and Aerospace Leaders through a curriculum that focuses on leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. As cadets participate in these four elements, they advance through a series of achievements, earning honors and increased responsibilities along the way. Many of the nation’s Astronauts, Pilots, Engineers, and Scientists first explored their careers through CAP. 

Mission: Transform youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders

Established: 1942

Age to Join: 12 through 18

Content Areas: Leadership, Aerospace, Fitness, Character

Total Cadets: 25,000

Locations: 1,000 hometown squadrons

Time Commitment: Ideally, cadets participate in a 2-hour squadron meeting each week, plus one “Saturday” event monthly and one week-long encampment in summer, but of course, school and family obligations take priority**

Costs: Annual dues of $40; some assistance is available with uniform costs and overnight activity fees; a fully-active cadet could incur $300 to $600 in costs during the first year, less any financial assistance

Military Obligation: None, but 8% of USAF Academy cadets are former CAP cadets

Annual Flying Hours: 25,000 hrs in single-engine aircraft; 12,000 glider sorties

* All figures are approximations that will vary year-to-year
** School-based squadrons may have different expectations for participation

Click below to view or download the Cadet Program Parent’s Guide



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