21st Century Dad
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Civil Air Patrol – Observing The Meeting

November 29th, 2007 . by admin

This past Tuesday, I attended the Civil Air Patrol meeting to fill out paperwork and to observe the meeting. In weeks past, I wrote about my first impressions, and a follow-up. The Boy’s interest and enthusiasm haven’t waned, so it warranted action on my part. If a teenager is chomping at the bit to join an organization that offers leadership training and discipline, you’re sitting on a golden opportunity!

Upon arriving, I am greeted by two of the most active parent volunteers. They are very friendly and eager to make a good first impression. I was whisked away to a separate room to fill out the application and to make payment.

The annual dues vary by state. In Florida, it’s $44. There is also a one-time fee you pay to the squadron your child joins. For what they promise, this is an incredible value. $44 and your active participation buys leadership training, discipline, self-confidence and community service opportunities.

You also receive the following items:

  • Leadership textbook
  • Aerospace textbook
  • “Air Force blue” uniform
  • Belt
  • T-shirt
  • Membership card

The parents are still responsible for C.A.P. insignia, shoes, the BDUs (battle dress uniform), boots for the BDUs. The local Army-Navy surplus store offers a discount to C.A.P. cadets on all purchases, not just C.A.P. related ones. Your local store may also have a similar policy.

Some activities are done every week like the opening and closing of every meeting. New cadets are indoctrinated and more advanced cadets continue their training. There is a classroom lecture every week on a topic that support the core values of Civil Air Patrol. Some weeks, they have PT, or physical training. Last week, all the cadets ran 2 miles. This week, they reviewed marching drills and cadences.

There are also activities and field trips on Saturdays. This week, the cadets went on a tour of the Coast Guard base. Almost every organization that meets regularly will also have social events like a holiday party and picnic.

This particular squadron meets at a municipal airport. It definitely adds a sense of authenticity to the experience. The Boy’s account and my own observations give me confidence that this is a worthwhile activity.

2 Responses to “Civil Air Patrol – Observing The Meeting”

  1. comment number 1 by: savoie faire

    That’s so wild – It flashes me right back to high school!

    I was in CAP for a couple of years in the 90s. I think it was really good for me. I was very active when my squadron was at Ft. Lauderdale Airport. I advanced to staff sgt. very quickly – mostly because the leadership and aircraft tests were cake (for me). The 2 mile run killed me everytime – so I never got my LT stripes.

    I got a lot out of CAP, but what I remember the most is my orientation flights and the different kinds of friends I made. The folks I did CAP with were not the computer/scifi/video game guys I normally hung out with – they were totally tweeked about flying and some of them were hu-ah gung ho military types (not my cup o’ tea, but I was glad to have them as friends).

    Encampment in lakeland (essentially McDill AFB) was AWESOME! I was a complete plane head at the time and being that close to F-16s – what could be better than that?

    You mention the whole leadership thing – Yeah it does help. It also helps you be a better follower. I know that sounds strange, but service in CAP helps you know when and how to question instructions. I really use those skills just as much today as I did 20 years ago.

    My squadron was consolidated with a composite squadron at a middle school next to Piper H.S. – can’t remember the name of it. I contemplated moving squadrons (Pompano Airport), but never did because I didn’t want to lose my position in the squadron. Despite that I ended up effectively leaving CAP by the middle of my junior year in HS.

    There is a senior squadron in Bethesda, Maryland. At times, I consider going to a meeting – but then I remember how busy my life is already!

    …is Everywhere

  2. […] Brian Savoie from Maryland left a comment on one of my posts about CAP. He gives a brief account of his time in […]

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