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Cadet Programs

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.

— Attracts over 25,000 members ages 12 through 20 for participation in its cadet programs.
— Educates youth in four main program areas: leadership, aerospace, fitness and character development.
— Enriches school curricula through after-school programs.
— Offers orientation flights in powered and glider aircraft, as well as flight training scholarships.
— Provides activities and competitions for cadets at the local, state, regional and national levels.
— Makes opportunities for community involvement available through color guard/drill team and emergency service missions.
— Challenges youth to be ambassadors for a drug-free lifestyle.
— Nurtures the skills of CAP cadets who make up about 10 percent of each of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s classes.
— Cadets who have earned the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award enlist in the Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard at a higher pay grade.
— Participates in the International Air Cadet Exchange program.
— Awards college scholarships in several disciplines.

 Please check out the welcome from our Deputy Commander for Cadets!

We are pleased to invite you to our open house for Summer 2021 enrollment. Join us 15-July-2021 for our open house. New cadet members must have their initial visit NO LATER THAN 26-AUG-2021. The open house is the first meeting that starts the introduction and training cycle. We have limited Cadet enrollment opportunities twice a year. Don’t miss this opportunity as the next one will be in Jan 2022!

For questions about the Cadet Program (including joining) email our cadet recruiting officer


Ready to join? Get Started


Today's Cadets . . . Tomorrow's Aerospace Leaders


Briefing Documents

Fact Sheet

Cadet Program Overview
for Strategic Audiences


CAP Cadet Program - At a Glance*

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 $25 - $60, depending upon location; 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

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