Through Civil Air Patrol's Cadet Program, young people leadership skills, investigate the fundamentals of aerospace science,habit of exercising regularly, solidify their character, and participate in exciting hands-on activities that prepare them to become responsible citizens.

Youth the ages of 12 to 18 may join the CAP Cadet Program and remain in cadet status until they turn 21. Middle school students may join before turning 12, if their school participates in the CAP School Program. 

Encampments: During weeklong encampments, which are usually conducted on Air Force bases,

CAP exposes cadets to Air Force values and traditions. First-year cadets develop teamwork and self-confidence in what is for many their first experience away from home. Advanced cadets apply their leadership skills while serving in positions of responsibility; the cadet cadre imparts on junior cadets what is expected of them in the Air Force Auxiliary. Nearly 6,000 cadets participate annually at about 48 different locations. Trained adults supervise and mentor the cadets.

Cadet Officer School: Leadership education culminates at the academically rigorous Cadet Officer School, conducted at the Air Force's Air University. Noted scholars in the fields of leadership theory, ethics, national security and communications provide intensive instruction. Cadets learn through lectures, seminars and hands-on exercises. Approximately 100 cadets participate each summer, with scores more completing similar programs regionally or through distance learning.