Marin Search & Rescue Composite Squadron 23
Main Content

Prospective Cadets

Become a CAP Cadet

"I made my first solo flight at CAP Encampment."
Col. Eric Boe 
NASA Astronaut

Looking for an amazing opportunity? Want to have fun, learn valuable skills, and get a head start on your future? Civil Air Patrol is the place young leaders are born and the biggest dreams are realized.

Marin Composite Squadron 23, like other units across the country, gives young Americans ages 12 - 18 access to programs and training that let you reach the sky - and even the stars. CAP's Cadet Program is a challenging journey, that will develop skills you didn't know you had. As a CAP Cadet you'll be in the pilot seat of a real airplane before you're old enough to drive. You'll have opportunities to build robots, crack the next cyber security challenge, launch rockets and test your skills with more than 24,000 other cadets across the U.S.

While CAP is the Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and cadets proudly wear the the Air Force uniform, there is no obligation to join any military service. While CAP does provide a route to the U.S. Military Academies, CAP can also help you get into College or ROTC, get a scholarship, or start a career in aviation. Cadets learn Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills centered around aerospace. In addition you'll learn self discipline, respect, and the power of a great attitude.

"My experiences as a CAP cadet were fundamental to my success."
Maj. Nicole Malachowski
USAF Thunderbirds

Today's cadet program is centered around four core program elements; Leadership, Aerospace, Fitness, and Character. You will build these skills over time, in a self-paced study of the art of leadership. Through classroom training and a real world mix of challenges, you will first follow, then lead a small group before graduating to command and executive leadership. You will learn to think critically, work as a team, manage conflicts, make decisions, and communicate effectively. As you progress through the cadet program, in a process we call Stripes to Diamonds, you'll find yourself empowered with the ability to manage, the strength to persevere, and the courage to meet any challenge. These are valuable skills you will carry with you throughout your entire adult life.

If that sounds like hard work, you're absolutely right. But Marin Squadron 23 and the California Wing make up for it with unique opportunities. In addition to taking the controls of CAP aircraft, the cadet program offers opportunities to fly in gliders and earn your solo wings at Flight Encampment. The Emergency Services Training Academy will teach you survival skills, first aid, navigation and basic Search and Rescue. Learn to communicate over hundreds of miles on CAP's radio network. Train for humanitarian missions and disaster response. Challenge yourself and your peers in CyberPatriot or StellarXplorers competition. 

Cadet Programs in California

Encampment will shape you.

After an introduction to the cadet program at Marin Squadron, and advancement through the first of the cadet achievements, you'll be called Airmen. This is the first of many important milestones you'll achieve. Exciting opportunities will become available at a host of California Wing activities, your first taste of what being a CAP Cadet is all about. Your first challenge will be attending the California basic encampment. This intense, one-week summer camp, will challenge you and fully develop your basic CAP skills.

Encampment will build your self-discipline and teamwork while expanding your leadership skills, military bearing, and understanding of aerospace. You'll do everything as a team; obstacle courses, drill and ceremonies, exercise, meals, and study time as a unit. You'll learn to depend on your teammates just as they depend on you. Without a doubt, Encampment is one of the most intense weeks of your life But, it's also a blast!

You'll experience overviews of equipment and tours of military aircraft, get a look at the life of today's military personnel, and be exposed to time honored traditions. Completing Encampment opens up progression to the Billy Mitchell Award and access to National Cadet Special Activities. You may also return to Encampment in a leadership role as cadre over the next years. 

NCOS will sharpen you.

The next step in cadet evolution is called Non-Commissioned Officer School or NCOS for short. While it does not carry a flashy name, you will learn all the skills necessary to lead a small unit in an exceptional manner. NCOS develops the tools to function as an effective Flight Sergeant and Flight Commander, as well as other cadet NCO roles such as First Sergeant.

During this course, you will master advanced drill and ceremonies, and learn powerful tools of instruction you will use to teach in your unit. You'll bring applied meaning to your leadership texts, and learn to recruit, train, and retain. You will begin to practice setting goals for your unit and your personal career and develop a crisp appearance and the sharpness of a senior NCO.

In California, cadet NCOS is conducted as part of an Integrated Leadership Program which includes other leadership training plans such as Basic Cadet School, Airman Training School, Senior NCOS, Cadet Officer's Basic School, and Advanced Cadet Staff Seminar. 

Want to learn to be a pilot?

O-Rides will elevate you.

The goal of the cadet orientation flight program is to introduce youth to flying. The program is designed to introduce you to general aviation through hands-on orientation flights in single engine aircraft and gliders. The program is limited to current CAP cadets under 18 years of age. Cadets are eligible for five flights in a powered aircraft (usually a single-engine Cessna), five flights in a glider aircraft, and an unlimited number of backseat flights when conditions allow. The program is voluntary.

Orientation flights are a capstone event in the cadet’s overall aerospace experience. Cadet aerospace includes at least three major components:

  1.  Cadets learn about aviation basics by studying the Aerospace Dimensions modules and completing achievement tests to advance through the overall CAP Cadet Program.

  2.  Local aerospace education officers enrich this learning through experiential activities where cadets use CAP Stem Kits and AEX activity guides.

  3. Orientation flights place cadets in the cockpit, where the aviation fundamentals they learned about through their textbooks and classroom activities come to life in an exciting way

National Cadet Programs

Civil Air Patrol has a unique cadet activities program, with career educational opportunities, the chance to be part of the largest air show in the world, personal challenge at the Hawk Mountain Ranger School, or to be an ambassador of aviation to another country through International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE). The National Cadet Special Activities page lists the upcoming schedule.

More Information

See the overview information on CAP National HQ's Join - Youth pages. We have additional details on our Prospective Cadets - Parent Guide page. Details on specific parts of the Cadet Program for active cadets are under National's Cadet Programs pages.

We invite you to come and see the Marin Civil Air Patrol Squadron in action any time we are meeting (check the calendar). If you would like to visit, or have additional questions about any CAP program, please use our contact form for a quick reply.

© 2024 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.