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Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a civilian volunteer organization which performs three congressionally-assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. Since 1941, CAP has served as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF).
Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to just under 21 years of age, and senior members 21 years of age and up.
Both teen cadets (12-21) and adults have the opportunity to join an elite group of dedicated volunteers - people making a difference in the lives of their fellow countrymen as "Citizens Serving Communities". Cadets and senior members learn how to provide disaster relief, emergency services, perform search and rescue, receive aerospace education, and even get free orientation flights in the Civil Air Patrol planes and gliders.
While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP) cadet program is unique. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership.
Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Not planning on entering the military? There is no obligation to pursue a military career, and the Civil Air Patrol will still be a great achievement to add to your college application or resumé.
Adults can be mentors to the cadets, and participate in all search and rescue functions and activities in the squadron.