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Cadet Program

Cadet Program

Interested in joining the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program? If you are between the ages of 12 and 18 and are ready to take the first step to becoming a cadet, use the unit locator at the top of the page to find a cadet or composite squadron near you.

Every unit is different and unique. If there are multiple units near you we recommend you visit them all to find the best fit for you. Bring your parents so they also can see what CAP cadets do and meet our adult leaders.  It's essential that parents are part of the application process. Who knows, they may even want to join our senior member program or join as a cadet sponsor member.  For more membership information visit

Today's cadets are tomorrow's aerospace leaders. Through its Cadet Program, Civil Air Patrol transforms youth aged 12 to 20 into responsible citizens.

CAP is the volunteer, non-profit auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Its three missions are to develop its cadets, educate Americans on the importance of aviation and space, and perform live-saving humanitarian missions.

The CAP cadet program is comprised of five main elements:

  • Leadership.  CAP cadets learn the basic principles of leadership and they are given many formal and informal opportunities to lead.  This training provides cadets with a life-long skill set that helps them to be successful students, employees, managers, and citizens!  Cadets are able to develop their leadership skills through leadership roles and many local, state, and national activities!

  • Aerospace.  Many of our cadets come to the organization with a love of aviation and space exploration, but many others do not.  However, all CAP cadets learn about the history and science of air and space and their importance to our society and our national security.  Our cadets participate in monthly aerospace education classes, which involve activities ranging from learning how planes fly to building and launching model rockets.  CAP cadets are also eligible for Orientation Flights, where experienced CAP pilots take them flying free of cost!

  • Fitness.  Current research has shown that our lifelong physical fitness habits are developed in large part during adolescence.  CAP cadets participate in monthly group physical fitness activities and must pass a physical fitness test for each promotion.  The focus of this aspect of the CAP cadet program is on team building, camaraderie, and developing healthy living habits.

  • Character.  The CAP cadet program strives to produce the best possible future leaders and citizens for America.  Integral to this goal is helping cadets discuss ethical dilemmas in a controlled, classroom setting.  Each month, all cadets participate in a Character Development discussion.  Cadets also give and receive mentoring and feedback to help them grow as leaders and people.

  • Activities - Cadet Program's activities element is designed for cadets to apply their leadership skills, explore aerospace careers and display their overall enthusiasm for the cadet ethic. Each squadron decides what activities it undertakes based on the interests of its leaders and members. All units should strive to be well-rounded and offer activities encompassing all three CAP missions.

The CAP Cadet Program is a year-round program where Cadets fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits. If you’re dreaming about a career in aviation, space, or the military, CAP’s Cadet Program is for you.
To become a cadet, you must be be at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old.  Cadets usually meet 2 hours per week on Mondays and one Saturday per month, on average, and also have opportunities to attend leadership encampments, career academies, and other activities during the summer. 

New Cadet Guide

Cadet Oath I pledge that I will serve faithfully in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program and that I will attend meetings regularly, participate actively in unit activities, obey my officers, wear my uniform properly, and advance my education and training rapidly to prepare myself to be of service to my community, state, and nation.

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