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Join CAP

Civil Air Patrol member gesturing at airplaneJoining Civil Air Patrol offers a unique opportunity to serve your community, save lives, and shape futures. Members come from diverse backgrounds and bring a wide variety of experience and skills to the organization.

Professional and personal development opportunities contribute to the success of members, allowing them to explore all that Civil Air Patrol has to offer, and can help advance professional aspirations while volunteering.

Youth aged 12-18 may join the cadet program, which focuses on four elements: leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, and character development. Civil Air Patrol follows Air Force values, customs, courtesies, and traditions, but there is no military obligation for either cadets or adult members.

Individuals 18 and older can join as adult members.

Adult Members (18+)

Civil Air Patrol adult members come from all walks of life. A military background is not required, nor do you need to be a pilot. Some members choose to get involved with aviation-related missions such as search and rescue or taking cadets on orientation flights, but there is a role for everyone in CAP. 

For local units to function, volunteers are needed to fill leadership roles as well as staff positions in personnel, transportation, operations, recruiting, safety, finance, and other areas.

Whatever their role, Civil Air Patrol volunteers make a positive impact on their community and may serve as leaders and role models for our cadets. Local and national training programs enable members to gain new skills and serve in various CAP positions.

Youth Members (12-18) 

Youth from 12-18 may join Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program. Cadets learn about aviation and develop leadership and teamwork skills valuable in becoming responsible adults. The year-round program typically includes a two-to-three-hour squadron meeting each week, one Saturday event every four to eight weeks, and one seven-to-10-day encampment each year, usually in the summer.

While school and family obligations take priority, this engaging program transforms youth into dynamic citizens and community leaders through a curriculum that encourages cadets to learn to lead as they progress. Many of the nation's astronauts, pilots, engineers, scientists, and business leaders first explored their careers through Civil Air Patrol.

Patron Members

Adults who wish to remain inactive, but want to be associated with Civil Air Patrol, can show support financially by paying annual dues as patron members. Patrons do not participate in CAP activities or meetings but may be invited to attend squadron social functions.

CAP Alumni

Nearly 1 million members have served in Civil Air Patrol since its founding in 1941. If you are one of them, connect with other alumni members at alumni@gocivilairpatrol.org.


A cadet from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing learns about aircraft ELTs.

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