Annual membership dues vary by state. Please click here to view the membership dues table. Cadets receive their first blue Air Force style uniform at no cost and will receive a new member kit with learning materials. Additional activities may have fees to cover lodging and meals.
FAQs for Parents
You child can join CAP as a cadet if they are at least 12 years old and before they turn 19. Cadets can stay in the program until they turn 21 as long as they have not entered active duty and are enrolled in a school.
No, they do not have to join the military, but many do. Cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award may enter the Air Force at an advanced grade (E-3) if they choose to enlist. The service academies and ROTC also look favorably on CAP experience. Approximately 10% of the USAF Academy cadet corps got their start in CAP. But no matter what career you choose, the skills you learn in CAP will be invaluable.
To get the most out of the cadet program they should participate regularly. Like any other activity, they’ll get out of CAP only what they put into it. Most squadrons meet weekly for about 2 1/2 hours, and offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer.
Your son or daughter will have the opportunity to fly in a CAP plane and possibly a military aircraft. CAP doesn’t teach cadets to fly, but they can compete for scholarships that will help pay for a pilot’s license.
CAP takes its responsibility to safeguard youth very seriously. The adult volunteers who interact with cadets (known as CAP senior members) have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI. All adult members also take a Cadet Protection course as part of their initial training.
School should always come first for the cadets. CAP expects cadets to maintain "satisfactory performance" at school, as defined by the cadet's parents. Because CAP emphasizes self-discipline, it's not uncommon for parents to see their son's or daughter's grades increase as a result of their participation in the Cadet Program.
CAP uses uniforms to promote teamwork and develop self-discipline. The uniform motivates cadets to set high standards for themselves and to live their core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect. Additionally, cadets practice military customs and courtesies as part of their leadership training.
The basic cadet uniform is the short-sleeve Air Force style blue uniform. Most cadets also choose to wear the optional BDU (camouflage) uniform.
New cadets are eligible to receive the Air Force style blue uniform at no cost to them through the Cadet Uniform Program, depending on the availability of Air Force funding. See your local squadron commander for details. BDUs and other uniform items may be available through your squadron, but most of the time you will need to purchase the items through the CAP uniform store www.vanguardmil.com or they may be purchased through the clothing sales store on military installations.
Through orientation flights in powered aircraft and gliders, cadets experience flight first-hand. CAP's pilots are licensed by the FAA, follow a syllabus for each flight, and ensure the flight is conducted safely. Orientation flights are free to cadets. See the squadron commander for information about when the next opportunity to fly is scheduled.
Cadets advance at their own pace through self-study and group study. To progress, cadets must (1) participate actively; (2) pass a written leadership test; (3) pass a written aerospace test; (4) pass a physical fitness test; (5) participate in character development forums; and most of all (6) demonstrate they have the maturity to accept increased responsibility. (In some stages of the Cadet Program, these requirements differ slightly.)
Absolutely! Some opportunities to share in the CAP experience are:
Cadet Sponsor Member -- Just like any other youth organization, CAP relies on parents to help support the program. Parents do have to undergo the same background screening process and cadet protection training as the other adult members and first year dues are just $30 and renewals are only $20. As a parent sponsor, you'll be able to help chaperone the kids, ride or drive in the CAP vehicles, and otherwise help the other adult volunteer members. You will not be required to wear the Air Force-style uniform.
Senior Member -- If you are more interested in taking a leadership role in the Cadet Program, or want to participate in CAP's aerospace education and emergency services missions, you should join as a senior member.. Talk with your child’s squadron commander about joining as a senior member. You will need to submit and complete a membership application, fingerprint card and complete an orientation course. Annual membership dues vary by state. Please click here to view the membership dues table.
Civil Air Patrol does not preclude membership due to medical conditions or disabilities. However, participation in certain activities may be limited depending on the condition, illness or disability.