Cadets (Age 12-18)
Cadet membership in CAP is available to all young men and women who meet the eligibility requirements. Cadets who become members before their 19th birthday may retain their cadet status until they reach 21 years of age; however, active senior membership is optional for all cadets at age 18.
Our goal is to develop cadet members into responsible citizens who become future aerospace leaders. We follow a military model that emphasizes Air Force traditions and values. What sets us apart from other youth programs is that our cadets can also participate in our real-world missions.
Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Program is organized around four elements, which allow for advancing through a series of achievements, earning honors, and increasing responsibilities along the way.
CAP introduces cadets to Air Force perspectives on leadership through classroom instruction, mentoring, and hands-on learning. First, cadets learn to follow, but as they progress, they learn how to lead small teams, manage projects, think independently, and develop leadership skills they can use in adult life.
Aerospace & STEM
CAP inspires a love of aviation, space, and technology, including new frontiers in cyber defense. Cadets study the fundamentals of aerospace science in the classroom, and experience flight first-hand in CAP and military aircraft. At some summer activities, cadets explore STEM careers.
CAP encourages cadets to develop a lifelong habit of regular exercise. The program promotes fitness through calisthenics, hiking, rappelling, volleyball, competitions, and other activities.
CAP challenges cadets to live by our shared core values. Through character forums, cadets discuss ethical issues relevant to teens. Chaplains often lead the discussions, but the forums are not religious meetings. CAP also encourages cadets to promote a drug-free ethic in their schools and communities.
The CAP Cadet Oath symbolizes how serious cadets are about becoming leaders. Cadets are expected to be able to recite the oath from memory.
I pledge that I will serve faithfully in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, and that I will attend meetings regularly, participate actively in unit activities, obey my officers, wear my uniform properly, and advance my education and training rapidly to prepare myself to be of service to my community, state, and nation.
Civil Air Patrol also operates in accordance with a Cadet Protection Policy to keep youth safe from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and hazing.
Cadet Membership Criteria
The following are requirements to join CAP as a cadet member:
- 12 years of age through 18 years of age;
- Enrolled in or graduated from school with a satisfactory (as defined by the parents) academic achievement record;
- Single with the exception of marriage under age 18;
- Not on active duty in the Armed Forces, which does not include attendance at military service academies or members in the National Guard or Reserves who are not on extended active duty;
- Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (a lawfully admitted non-citizen residing in the U.S. may have this waived by CAP’s National Headquarters);
- Have good moral character;
- Attend three squadrons meetings as a trial period; and
- Be accepted by the local squadron and higher headquarters.
Membership is on a year-to-year basis. Cadets may have their membership terminated for failure to maintain a satisfactory academic school record, failure to programs in the CAP Cadet Program, lack of interest demonstrated by failure to attend three successive regular squadron meetings without an acceptable excuse, and misconduct, which includes conduct unbecoming a member of CAP (core values), making a false statement to or concerning CAP, serious or willful violations of CAP regulations or directives, failure to obey rules, regulations, and orders of higher authority, and insubordination.