NER-MA-043 Hanscom Composite Squadron
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Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program 

One of the missions of Civil Air Patrol (CAP), as chartered by Congress, is cadet programs.  CAP offers one of the most robust youth leadership programs in the country and we, at Hanscom Composite Squadron, are home to a very vibrant cadet program! 

The CAP Cadet Program presents a unique opportunity for America's youth to learn leadership skills, gain knowledge and understanding of aerospace science, develop an appreciation for the importance of life-long physical fitness, and gain reinforcement of their core values through character development.

The mission of the Cadet Program is to provide the youth of our nation with a quality program that enhances their leadership skills through an interest in aviation, and simultaneously provide service to the United States Air Force and the local community. The Cadet Program seeks to provide America with a pool of young, dynamic aerospace leaders for the future. United States citizens or aliens admitted for permanent residence between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age are eligible for initial cadet membership. Individuals who join CAP as a cadet prior to their 18th birthday may remain cadets until their 21st birthday.

The goals of the Cadet Program are to:

  • Provide an environment where cadets learn teamwork, refine their communications skills, become self-disciplined and develop self-confidence;

  • Develop the cadet's knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for understanding aerospace principles and the total impact of aerospace power upon society;

  • Assist the cadet develop a personal ethical foundation and an understanding of the moral issues through discussion and debate;

  • Guide cadets in how to become physically fit and develop a lifelong habit of regular exercise;

  • Encourage cadets to participate in a variety of special activities and programs to enhance their learning of leadership principles and aerospace science.

Through study and performance, cadets work through a series of achievements and milestone awards. As cadets progress, they advance in grade, increase the scope of their leadership responsibilities, earn awards, and become eligible for nationally-sponsored special activities and scholarships.

The CAP cadet program is comprised of five main elements:

  • Leadership.  CAP cadets learn the basic principles of leadership and they are given many formal and informal opportunities to lead.  This training provides cadets with a life-long skill set that helps them to be successful students, employees, managers, and citizens!  Cadets are able to develop their leadership skills through leadership roles and many local, state, and national activities!

  • Aerospace.  Many of our cadets come to the organization with a love of aviation and space exploration, but many others do not.  However, all CAP cadets learn about the history and science of air and space and their importance to our society and our national security.  Our cadets participate in monthly aerospace education classes, which involve activities ranging from learning how planes fly to building and launching model rockets.  CAP cadets are also eligible for Orientation Flights, where experienced CAP pilots take them flying free of cost!

  • Fitness.  Current research has shown that our lifelong physical fitness habits are developed in large part during adolescence.  CAP cadets participate in monthly group physical fitness activities and must pass a physical fitness test for each promotion.  The focus of this aspect of the CAP cadet program is on team building, camaraderie, and developing healthy living habits.

  • Character.  The CAP cadet program strives to produce the best possible future leaders and citizens for America.  Integral to this goal is helping cadets discuss ethical dilemmas in a controlled, classroom setting.  Each month, all cadets participate in a Character Development discussion.  Cadets also give and receive mentoring and feedback to help them grow as leaders and people.

  • Activities - Cadet Program's activities element is designed for cadets to apply their leadership skills, explore aerospace careers and display their overall enthusiasm for the cadet ethic. Each squadron decides what activities it undertakes based on the interests of its leaders and members. All units should strive to be well-rounded and offer activities encompassing all three CAP missions.

Civil Air Patrol cadets are exposed to these five elements through a variety of activities:

  • Weekly Meetings.  Hanscom Composite Squadron cadets meet year-round on Thursday nights from 6:15-9:15pm at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

  • Squadron Activities.  Our cadets enjoy participating in a variety of activities including search and rescue training, model rocketry, going to air shows, community service, formal military-style banquets, marching in local parades!

  • Orientation Flights.  CAP Cadets, as mentioned above, get to fly planes and the Air Force picks up the cost!

  • Encampment.  Every summer, cadets from all over Massachusetts gather for a week of team-building, leadership training, and challenging activities.

  • National Cadet Special Activities.  Cadets from all over the country can go a variety of week-long activities ranging from a week of simulated Air Force pilot training to search and rescue training schools to flight academies to leadership seminars.  For more information about these activities, click here.

  • Wing Conference.  Each March, the adult and teenage CAP members in Massachusetts come together for our annual conference.  It is an opportunity to learn more about CAP, reminisce with old friends, make new friends, and recognize our members’ efforts with awards.

  • Tours.  In the past, Hanscom Composite Squadron cadets have been able to tour facilities such as Boston MedFlight, Hanscom AFB Security Forces, Hanscom Tower, Massport, Draper Laboratories, and many more!  Cadets get to investigate different career fields and learn more from the people who work in them.

These are only a few of the many opportunities available to Civil Air Patrol Cadets!  If you would like to know more about this program, and come visit us to see a meeting, please click on “Contact Us” on the menu above and get in touch!

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