Civil Air Patrol cadets volunteer time to better communities

Published 5:30 am Monday, July 18, 2022

As a non-profit organization comprised of volunteers who give their time to assist in times of disaster, search for the lost and protect the nation, the Civil Air Patrol takes their motto, “Volunteers serving America’s communities, saving lives, and shaping futures,” very seriously.

One of the ways CAP does this is through their CAP Cadet Program.

“The mission of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is to transform youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders,” said Tracy Jordan, Lake Charles Composite Squadron public affairs officer. “Through their volunteer efforts, cadets are helping to provide aid to communities that are experiencing natural disasters, teaching leadership values and passing a love of science and technology on to other youth, and inspiring the community as a whole with a love for our country.”

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According to Jordan, the Civil Air Patrol was founded in 1941 as a way to “organize the nation’s civilian aviation resources.” CAP leaders created the CAP Cadet Program on Oct. 1, 1942, for both boys and girls ages 15-18. Today, the program has expanded to include students ages 12 -18.

In this program, cadets participate in search-and-rescue exercise training alongside senior members. Cadets take on the roles of ground team members, flight line staff, and mission base staff.

Jordan said in actual emergency response situations, cadets often serve as mission-base staff. In this role, cadets assist senior members with communications and resource management.

“On a more regular basis, cadets volunteer at community events such as airshows, parades, and holiday celebrations,” Jordan said. She said the cadets aid in a variety of community service activities, such as keeping runways clear of debris, assisting in traffic direction and crowd control, and marshaling planes. They also work with local scout groups and schools to share information and love regarding aviation.

Through their good works CAP and their cadets aim to make a change by “inspiring the community as a whole with a love for our country.”

The CAP Cadet program has a focus on STEM education. “Many cadet squadrons also partner with local scout groups and schools to share their love of aviation,” she said. “They demonstrate rocket launches, conduct STEM activities, and conduct the Red Ribbon Leadership Academy.”

Aside from CAP’s cadet program and squadron activities, they offer many STEM resources that are free to educators. “Teachers who join as aerospace education members have access to a wealth of resources that can be used in their classrooms, and they get to take a free teacher orientation flight on one of CAP’s Cessna aircrafts,” she explained.

This summer, many local CAP cadets are attending the Summer Encampment at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. This encampment lasts one week, and “emphasizes leadership, character, physical fitness, and STEM.”

Members of CAP help the community by executing emergency services on local, state, and federal levels as an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

Potential candidates are asked to attend at least three of their local squadron’s meetings before committing to the program. The Lake Charles Composite Squadron meets at St. Luke-Simpson United Methodist Church 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays. For more information,