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About Character Development Instructors

Chaplain Corps Character Development Instructors

What is a Character Development Instructor and what do we do?

  • A Character Development Instructor (CDI) is an officer or NCO who is appointed by the CAP Chaplain Corps

  • Primarily a CDI receives special training to facilitate the monthly Cadet Character Development sessions, and the Senior Core Values instruction.

  • Secondarily the CDI assists the Chaplain Corp by providing administrative support, mentoring, and other duties which may be assigned in a unit. 

  • CDIs serve at all levels in CAP.  If a wing does not have a Wing Chaplain, a qualified CDI may be appointed as a Wing Chaplain Corps Coordinator.

  • A CDI may choose to become involved in Emergency Services.  They receive training to support the Mission Chaplain by becoming a member of the Chaplain Support Team as a Chaplain Support Specialist (CSS).  The CSS rating is only an Emergency Services rating.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I become a CDI?

  • CAPR 80-1: CAP Chaplain Corps defines the requirements for Character Development Instructors.

    • You must meet all requirements for Civil Air Patrol senior membership (see CAPR 39-2, Civil Air Patrol Membership).

    • You must have completed Level I and part 1 of Level II in the Senior Member Education and Training program.

    • You must complete the Character Development Facilitator Course and the Basic Instructor Course in the eServices Learning Management System.

    • You will assist your unit commander in preparing a CAPF 80-2 CDI application form which is submitted through the Wing Chaplain / Wing Chaplain Corps Coordinator.

    • Your Wing Chaplain or Wing Chaplain Corps Coordinator will interview you as part of your application process.

  • Although the CDI is part of the Chaplain Corps, the position does not have a religious component. Rather, the CDI is an expert in value-based ethics (the CAP Core Values), and assists members in their understanding of this important concept.

Character Development Lessons and Instruction Rationale:

Chaplains and character development instructors are seen as being the keepers of the CAP core values. We are the ones who advise the commanders on morals, morale, and the behavior of members.

As we grow from childhood into adulthood, our choices result in longer lasting consequences. Parents can usually "fix" the poor choices their children make. But as children grow, choices become more important, their consequences more lasting. The choice to enter CAP, for example, results in consequences which change lives.

As adults make choices, they discover that these choices come from values they hold. When people understand their own values, and even choose which values they really want to keep, they make better choices.

Values are important. One might value a car, a friend, a way of living. Values are what make us tick. What we think about, how we feel, and most of all, how we spend our time and money {these reveal true values.)

Some people want to control others; they value power. Such values as these are essentially self-centered; they lead us to put our own interests above the interests of others.

Other values (such as honesty and empathy) help us to view others as important. Such values lead us to act in ways which benefit everyone, not just ourselves.  Those values which promote growth as human beings are called morals. Morals are "group-centered" values insofar as they focus attention on self, others, and community.

Morals direct us to value others as well as ourselves. Common American morals include honesty, fairness, respect for law, and self-discipline. Such morals focus on how our lives touch the lives of others. But morals are more. Morals are not merely expressions of personal preference. Morals involve reasons why that moral should be  followed. These reasons are objective. For example, people should be honest. To exist as a group, people must communicate with each other. Honesty is essential to communication.  Communication requires honesty. Note "should:" a moral is prescriptive; it tells us what we should (or should not) do. Morals help us make right choices and avoid wrong ones. Right choices make for better and happier lives.

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