The CAP Cadet Program continues to introduce thousands of young people from 6th Grade to age 21 to aviation, and offers them outstanding summer programs including some that offer an opportunity to solo in a light airplane at low cost. The CAP Cadet Program is designed to motivate and develop well-rounded young people, who in turn will become model citizens and the future leaders of our nation. CAP cadets progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and character development. Cadets can compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in such areas as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics and aerospace medicine. They can also compete for scholarships leading to solo flight training. Many outstanding cadets have an opportunity to go overseas in exchange programs with youth in other countries, and some of these exchange cadets even experience flying opportunities with foreign air forces.
Many of today’s leaders, in and out of aviation, have benefited greatly from their experiences as Civil Air Patrol cadets. Each graduating class of the U.S. Air Force Academy is heavily populated with former CAP cadets–up to 8 percent in recent years. West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy also admit many CAP cadets each year. CAP cadets who enlist in the Air Force are immediately promoted two pay grades (to E-3) if they have completed the second phase of CAP cadet training.
1994 marked the introduction of the CAP Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDR). Targeted toward Active, Guard, and Reserve Air Force family members and members of the local community (typically within 30 miles of an Air Force installation), units participating in DDR actively perform the following activities:
- Promoting CAP as an alternative lifestyle.
- Encouraging youth to remain in school.
- Educating youth on the dangers of drugs.
- Providing alternative activities to drugs.