Civil Air Patrol

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by FutureCadet12, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    Hello,

    I am wondering if anyone would be willing to share their experiences with Civil Air Patrol (CAP). I have heard it is a very large time commitment, and I am hesitant to join because of sports, other ECs, and school. However, the leadership opportunities sound excellent and I am very interested in the search and rescue, Cyberpatriot, etc. programs in CAP. Thoughts?
     
  2. fearthegoat17

    fearthegoat17 Member

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    I was in CAP for about 6 months and then got out of it. CAP is a very large time commitment and with 2 varsity sports and everything else during that important part of high school, there was no way I could commit enough time to it. There are many weekends that you will plan events to go to for volunteer work etc. We had many cool experiences like taking firearm classes, going to ranges, learning about aerospace, and doing drill. However, it will come down to the people in your squadron. I did not enjoy the company/attitudes of most of the other cadets in my squadron, but that was my experience. It is pretty rare that you will ever do Search and Rescue, plus you would have to promote and go through training first. In my squadron, it was difficult to get any programs or events to get going because the other cadets took no initiative. Your experience will probably depend on your squadron.
     
  3. myplaneyourplane

    myplaneyourplane New Member

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    Hi there,

    I am currently in Civil Air Patrol, and have been for two years. There's two types of people within CAP, those who are completely invested in the program and those who chose to attend but not invest a huge amount of their time. You're going to learn many things in either of those situations, but it is true you will learn more being more invested. I had the good fortune of joining a great squadron, but even if you don’t join the best squadron you can always search around for others. CAP offers amazing summer programs known as National Cadet Special Activities, and to attend those all you need to do is pass encampment (a week long "boot camp" for the Civil Air Patrol). These Special Activities include flight schools, leadership academies, and many more. Some of the opportunities from CAP that I've experienced are: flights in a Blackhawk helicopter, a C-130 flight, multiple glider and powered engine flights, a leadership academy, multiple bivouacs and Search and Rescue activities, and survival training. If you're interested in flying in any way, CAP is an amazing way to get your license. Also, one of the cheapest ways to learn how to fly. If your goals don't include flying, there's a huge amount of other activities within CAP that aren't related to flying (Space Command Familiarization Course, Hawk Mountain Ranger School, etc).

    Here's my advice. Try it out, give it your best shot. I was worried about time management too, but if anything CAP has taught me stress and time management better than any sport or school activity I've ever done. If the program isn't suited for you, don't join. Remember that CAP is a volunteer organization, and you will never be forced to continue your membership within the program.
     
  4. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    Highly recommend CAP. Son learned a lot about leadership and aeronautics. If you're interested in the Air Force, it is a good preview.

    Also, during my son's USAFA ALO interviews, it was clear that USAFA looks upon CAP involvement highly. USNA and USMA somewhat less.

    If you don't have any other leadership positions in sports or with other organizations, CAP is a good place to get it.
     
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  5. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    I'm the Deputy Commander for Cadets in a Civil Air Patrol squadron. Like most things in life, the more you get out of CAP will depend on how much you put into it. If you are interested in the leadership opportunities, CyberPatriot, SAR, etc., then I would suggest that you attend a local squadron meeting and see if it is a good fit. There are many great opportunities available to engaged cadets.

    The other question I would have is where you are at in your service academy application process. I've had several high school juniors join midway through their junior years in an attempt to pad their resumes - these individuals typically do not have satisfactory CAP experiences as it takes time and commitment to promote and earn the positions that will provide them the direct leadership experience that the academies (and other colleges) like to see on applications.
     
  6. Norfolk63

    Norfolk63 BGO and MidDad 5-Year Member

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    DS was in CAP in high school and continues his involvement with his local squadron while attending college, even though he is a MIDN 4/C in NROTC and has just recently received an appointment to USNA class of 2021.

    Why? CAP is an outstanding community service organization with much to offer youth and adults. While in high school, DS played varsity football, wrestling and track, so he was unable to participate in JROTC. CAP gave him the opportunity to experience military and leadership training to sort of "test drive" military life. As an Eagle scout, he was impressed with CAP's training and organization. He also received excellent flight training and other community service opportunities that helped strengthen his character and application to NROTC and USNA.

    Like any ECA, the quality of the cadet's experience depends on your attitude and the chemistry of the people involved. Suggest checking out one or more local CAP squadrons in your area until you find a good fit.
     
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  7. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    I am currently a high school freshman.
     
  8. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    How was your DS able to balance all those sports along with CAP, possibly other EC's, and school?
     
  9. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    I am trying to keep all my options open this early on in my high school career. If I decide later on to not attend a SA/ROTC, how will civilian colleges view CAP? Would my time be better spent participating in something else non-military related?
     
  10. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    Then I would definately visit one (or more) local squadrons and look for a good fit. As cadets get into their junior and senior years they often have more activities/responsibilities vying for their time, so you still have plenty of time to explore leadership and other opportunities at CAP.
     
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  11. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    The college admissions representatives I have spoken with acknowledge the leadership experience a student can get within CAP, especially if the Mitchell Award is earned (which typically takes a minimum of 18 months of active participation). It will differ from college to college, but some assess the CAP Mitchell Award as roughly equivalent to earning a BSA Eagle Scout promotion.
     
  12. Norfolk63

    Norfolk63 BGO and MidDad 5-Year Member

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    The key word is "balance." Whether you intend to go to college as a cadet, midshipman or as a civilian, time management will be one of the keys to your success. Learning to complete homework ahead of time and arrange your schedule to plan ahead in the short- and long-term are critical skills that will serve you well. That is why college admissions people at service academies and civilian universities stress the importance of involvement in ECAs, because they provide an indicator that a candidate possesses the strong time management skills necessary for college success.

    To answer your question specifically, DS also possessed the desire to make it work. In high school, he would wake up early to go to the weight room or run before school depending on the season, attend classes all day, go to varsity practice directly after school, then on CAP meeting nights (which was once a week) I would pick him up from school and drive him to the local AFB while he ate a sub sandwich for dinner and changed into his CAP uniform in the back seat. Then after CAP he came home to finish his homework before hitting the rack for the next day. Sound crazy? In retrospect, it probably was, but that was the time management solution he had devised that worked for him because he wanted it. Now that DS is in college, he has found that his high school experience was the perfect training ground for his current success at the university. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  13. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    Any current midshipmen/cadets with CAP experience care to speak on this?
     
  14. USAFA2021

    USAFA2021 Member

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    I would definitely recommend it! I've been part of the program for nearly 6 years. Through CAP, i've able to do/accomplish things I never thought were possible. From living my dream of soloing a powered aircraft, to leading a squadron as the cadet commander, Civil Air Patrol has surely developed me into a far better Leader and overall a better person. If your interests are in aviation, the Civil Air Patrol offers National Flight Academies you have the opportunity to part take in. I was very blessed to have this opportunity. I flew to Mankato, Minnesota and graduated from a week long flight school with my solo wings. If your interests are in Engineering, Search and Rescue, Emergency Services, or even Cyber Defense , CAP has activities that can match your interests and widen your perspective of what you truly want to pursue in life.

    Wish you the best!
     
  15. grahamtorr65

    grahamtorr65 Member

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    My son has been a proud CAP member for two years and loves it. His older brother was USNSCC for 5 years and has now been accepted to USNA Class of '21. Both fine organizations we can't speak highly enough of.
     
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  16. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Pursue your interests.. don't do something simply because you think it looks good on your resume or application. If you are truly interested, and are passionate about it, it will be worthwhile and you will standout . Mere participation in an organization like CAP is meaningless...if you standout as a leader, it can help you alot. ( I was active in CAP and selected as Cadet of the Year in my state, long long ago. It can be a very good program, but of course, alot depends upon your unit).
     
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  17. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB 10-Year Member

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    This sounds EXACTLY like my high school experience. When I got my license and lost those 15-20 minutes in the car, it actually had a real impact. I really made use of every spare minute. If it could be done in the car, that's where it happened (changing, eating, quick homework assignments). Definitely prepared me well for USAFA. I found more free time freshman year even with an IC sport than I had in high school. That was a nice feeling.
     
  18. RDG143

    RDG143 5-Year Member

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    My son, who is a current cadet at USAFA now, had a very busy HS schedule. He participated in CAP, several years as a Varsity HS athlete, played a very competitive club sport (traveling extensively), did many volunteer hours, had leadership roles in several school clubs, active in NHS, etc.
    He would tell you that the busy HS schedule and time management skills learned then are serving him very well now as busy cadet.
     
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  19. Toesha

    Toesha New Member

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    I'm not in CAP but I am in Sea Cadets and it's one of the best decisions that I've made. I do 2 sports, all AP/honors classes, and work 20 hours a week. It's not as big of a commitment as you would think. It gives you opportunities that programs like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts can't. Last summer I was a in charge of the entire female barracks for Sea Cadet recruit training. Talk about leadership opportunities.
     
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