Your First Year
First Tasks for New Cadets
Our squadron leadership wants every cadet to be successful in the cadet program. Although there is a lot to learn, our entire leadership team stands behind you ready to assist. To get the most out of the cadet program, we ask for our cadets to do a few things when starting out.
Once you join Civil Air Patrol, you will get an email from our National Headquarters with the subject line "Congratulations and Welcome to the Civil Air Patrol". Please follow the instructions to register for an account. If you can't find that email, you can also follow the instructions in this document to help you get going.
As you create your account, double-check that your contact information is correct.
2. Look Around.
Your New Cadet Kit will arrive within 10 days of your officially joining CAP. Watch your mailbox.
Look through the New Cadet Guide booklet. Make that your #1 resource for getting started in CAP.
Give the Parents' Guide to your mom, dad, or guardian. To be a successful cadet, you'll need their support, and the Parents' Guide can help you explain to them why CAP is important to you.
3. Get Into Uniform.
After you complete the Great Start program, you will know everything you need to know about wearing the CAP uniform. Our squadron has many ABU uniforms on hand to assist you. More instructions are included on our squadron website under the "Cadet Uniforms" page.
After you finish our Great Start program and earn your first stripe, you’ll qualify for the Curry Blues Voucher, which covers some of the costs of the “blues” uniform.
Uniform items may be purchased through a variety of sources. The official source for CAP insignia and uniforms is Vanguard. Shop with them at civilairpatrolstore.com, (800)221-1264. Many of our members also go to Travis Air Force Base for blues items, you can buy uniform garments (but not CAP insignia) at the Exchange or base thrift store. Of course, you can always shop online for uniform items as well. There are many resources available for our members to get uniforms.
4. Study Your Leadership Text.
Part of your New Cadet Kit includes the Learn to Lead series of books. Each promotion requires cadets to either pass an online, open-book test or to complete an online-activity. If you elect to take the tests, pay attention to the learning objectives and use them to quiz yourself.
5. Study Your Aerospace Text.
Like the Leadership Text, the Aerospace Dimensions books were sent to you in your New Cadet Kit. You can complete tests and online activities in any order, at home for most promotions. There are also many online resources to help you prepare for this requirement.
6. Plan to Attend Encampment.
Encampment is a full immersion into all the opportunities of cadet life. It’ll be the high point of your first year! Most encampments are 1-week in duration and held during the summer. Check the encampment page to see if information is available and mark your calendar, or ask your squadron for details.
The Cadet Encampment Assistance Program (CEAP, say “seep”) can help you with tuition and uniform costs.
Basic Expectations for 1st Year Cadets
★ Stay with CAP for at least 1 year. Give the cadet experience a chance to impact your life.
★ Attend your weekly squadron meetings.
★ Attend one "Saturday" event per month, if available.
★ Attend encampment. It's an awesome, week-long, overnight activity immersing you into all facets of cadet life.
★ Earn the Wright Brothers' Award during your first year.
★ Keep school and family obligations your first priorities.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I earn my first promotion?
Visit Stripes to Diamonds. It'll tell you exactly what you need to do to become a Cadet Airman. Keep track of your progress through the Cadet Program using the Personal Cadet Tracker. And if your New Cadet Kit hasn't arrived yet, you can download Chapter 1 of the leadership textbook above.
2. Where's my membership card?
You should receive your CAP ID card in the mail within 30 days of joining. If yours hasn't arrived, please contact National Headquarters.
3. What is my CAPID?
Your CAPID is a 6-digit identification number. It's found on your membership card and in eServices.
9. Where do I go if I have more questions?
Talk with local leaders in your squadron, especially your Cadet Element Leader or Cadet Flight Sergeant. Their job is to help you succeed in CAP. Moms and dads should visit our Parents' Page.