The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) offers a wide range of cadet activities. Many of these happen at the state and national level. However, the majority occur within the squadron.
This page on Civil Air Patrol cadet activities is intended to serve as an introduction to the many events that cadets can become involved in - both with the squadron and with higher echelons of CAP.
At the Hernando County Composite Squadron, we are actively involved in a range of cadet programs designed to challenge our members. Activities are generally focused on leadership, emergency services, volunteerism and aerospace education.
Many of these activities teach life skills that can translate into a career or other opportunities beyond the cadets' participation in the Civil Air Patrol.
These events include:
- first aid training
- search and rescue ground teams
- team building and emergency services bivouacs
- model rocketry events
- color guard training
- marksmanship and firearms training
The Florida Wing (FLWG) of the Civil Air Patrol offers numerous cadet training programs and events throughout the year. The most prominent is the Florida Wing Encampment.
Encampments are held twice a year: once in the summer and once in the winter (typically after Christmas.) In recent years, the encampments have been held at Camp Blanding, near Starke. For additional information on these encampments, see our detailed pages here:
- Florida Wing Summer Encampment
- Florida Wing Winter Encampment
Additional FLWG cadet activities include:
- Florida Leadership Academy (FLA)
- Cadet Advisory Council
- Cadet Honor Society
- Cadet Executive Leadership Program
- FLWG Cyber Program
- SUN 'n FUN Aerospace Expo
- Tampa Bay AirFest
Civil Air Patrol National Activities
There are a multitude of exciting cadet programs at the national level as well. Many of these fall under the National Cadet Special Activities (NCSA) program, which includes:
- flight training programs (some with the U.S. Air Force),
- international exchange programs with allied countries,
- training with the U.S. Air Force Pararescue teams (PJs),
- working with U.S. Space Force,
- advanced search and rescue courses, and
- so much more.
As many parents find the process confusing, we've compiled an information page about the NCSAs here. It helps explain the process of applying and attending.
There are a variety of scholarship opportunities for cadets through CAP. Some scholarships may provide funds for enrollment fees to CAP events. Others provide stipends for travel to and from CAP events. Others help pay for pilot training (flight schools), while others are available to attend college in the United States.
We've put together a fact sheet for CAP Scholarships here. It is intended to supplement the existing information on the Civil Air Patrol website such as tips on the application process. Interest in the scholarships is very strong, so there is a great degree of competition for slots.
Final Thoughts on Cadet Activities
The Civil Air Patrol is a very diverse organization. Squadrons in Florida prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes while units in Alaska may be more aligned to search and rescue for missing planes. Where you are will have an impact on what kinds of activities are available to you.
That said, the Hernando County Composite Squadron attempts to offer a range of different cadet programs for our membership. We recognize that not everyone is interested in the same things.
Also, CAP is largely what you make of it. We try to help new cadets (and their parents) understand the processes involved in the CAP system. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the cadet to explore what is available and apply for those opportunities. We are always available to help, but the cadets are expected to learn a high degree of self-reliance.