Civil Air Patrol, as the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and, as a humanitarian, non-profit organization, has garnered the support and commitment of its 61,000+ volunteer members nationwide, alongside a three-person Aerospace Education team at CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, and has answered the nation’s “call to action” to prepare our nation’s youth to be patriotically and technologically prepared for the global aerospace demands of the future. Although CAP’s AE Program has been making significant contributions to this effort for 67 years, it has embraced a 21st century leadership role with restructured, revised, and re-energized products and programs more relevant to today’s standards of learning and tomorrow’s workforce needs. AE’s interdisciplinary products and programs engage youth in an applicable, inquiry-based learning framework that supplements core subjects and enhances traditional learning. These academic standards-based products and programs are provided to educators at no cost, a fact that is helping to offset the lack of local, state, and federal funding for educational programs.
CAP’s unpaid professionals, both in community CAP squadrons and in classrooms, youth organizations, and aviation museums, are trained in technology and educational programs that continue to sustain CAP’s reputation as a national resource of choice. High-level technology usage, such as Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR thermal imaging sensors for Search & Rescue missions) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle training capabilities are conducted by CAP adult and cadet members. Using CAP subject matter experts as mentors to youth, new CAP educational products pertaining to Robotics, Flight Simulation, Remotely-Piloted Aircraft, Cyber Security, and Satellite Tracking and Imagery will help inspire youth toward aerospace careers to maintain national security for the future.
In an effort to disseminate current and relevant national AE outreach information to its members and the general public, CAP publishes a quarterly Volunteer magazine, provides online daily Volunteer Now stories from the field, and maintains this AE website with an ever-evolving repository of resources, programs, and products.
To recognize outstanding efforts of its members who promote Aerospace/STEM Education across the nation, CAP provides a array of local and national AE awards for outstanding cadets, senior members, and educator members. To perpetuate the education of its members, CAP offers flight and academic scholarships and college credit to CAP cadet, adult, and educator members, as well as specific regional and national training symposiums for CAP AE Officers and educator members.
To provide strategic AE leadership, the volunteer National AE Officer, Lt Col Mike McArdle, has developed diverse Leadership Teams tasked with specific responsibilities to further perpetuate the momentum, funding, credibility, and impact of the CAP AE program across the country. These teams are working to promote and support existing and new programs, establish partnerships and alliances, and provide professional development opportunities, scholarships, financial assistance, symposia, special studies, and programs that involve schools, youth organizations, museums, and universities.