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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!


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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