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National Character & Leadership Symposium

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Application Instructions & Frequently Asked Questions
Make Your Activity a Cadet Special Activity (CSA)

Cadet (Not Staff) End of Activity Survey 2020 -- All cadet participants not on staff, please take this survey to help us improve support for activities.

Staff End of Activity Survey 2020 -- All staff--seniors members, cadets, and military members--please take our survey to help improve quality of our activities.

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This site lists Civil Air Patrol's upcoming Cadet Special Activities (CSAs). It includes national activities and those wing and region activities approved to receive the CSA ribbon. These activities are designed to explore civilian and military aerospace careers, provide flight training, develop leadership, and enhance emergency services skills.

NCSA Registration Status Updates


Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters will continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance about the Coronavirus as we approach summer and “high season” for overnight cadet activities including encampments, flight academies, the International Air Cadet Exchange, and other National Cadet Special Activities. We will do our best to make the decision to proceed with or cancel the activity approximately 45 days out. If an activity cancels, staff will notify participants, and we will indicate the cancellation on the activity's advertisement page here in the listing.  In light of the many factors affecting a family's decision to attend an NCSA or not, CAP will refund the tuition, including the typically non-refundable deposit, in full this year regardless of reason for withdrawing from an activity.


We know that families typically try to purchase airline tickets several weeks in advance for cadet activities so that they may obtain the lowest rates. For now, we suggest that families not purchase airline tickets. We’ll keep families, adult volunteers, and host wings informed about our plans for summer cadet activities over the next several weeks as the situation develops.


Cadets who have been offered “primary” slots at NCSAs, please accept or decline by the previously announced deadline(s).

Cancelled Activities

International Air Cadet Exchange
National Cadet Competition

Please follow instructions from activity staff for refund of payments to include the deposit.

ANY change made to applications after 15 Jan result in everything applied for being marked late.  For those interested in cyber activities, see "Civil Air Patrol National Cyber Academy" in the list for details on how to indicate your interest in attending. It will not affect your eServices ontime applications.

EServices Registration & Payment System is open for applications for Summer activities. Applications submitted in eServices through 15 Jan are considered "On-Time" and will be given priority placement into "primary" status. Use this "Apply Online" link to access the application site on eServices. Notifications of winter placements go out by mid-December. Spring placements are as outlined on their advertisement on this site. Notifications for summer applicants will go out on or about 1 March. Those cadets who remain on alternate lists may be contacted at anytime to fill a slot.

Use the following course numbers to verify you are selecting the correct activity in the eServices "Preferences" tab of your application.  Activities appear alphabetically, but will have the course number next to them in the tab. You can download a sortable spreadsheet on the homepage for a complete listing of activity course numbers. If you can't see the course number on your device, try changing the zoom on the page.

eServices Short Name Cadet Participant Course # Staff Participant Course # Activity Full Name
NCLS 267 401 National Character & Leadership Symposium
The 4 most outstanding cadet applicants, as judged by NCLS faculty, will be notified of their selection to attend via email by 31 December. Follow instructions given by your activity staff regarding payment of the $60 fee.  It is not paid via eServices.  Failure to pay on time will result in removal from the activity and an alternate being placed in your slot.

Financial Support: Go to the eServices CadetInvest Module to apply for Cadet Lift and Take-Off Program Cadet (TOP), needs-based financial assistance, and for flight scholarships. These programs are designed to offset costs associated with attending some NCSAs, as well as flight academies. They include payment of your activity fees and transportation to and from the activity.  Go to the CadetInvest pages for more details. Deadline to apply for scholarships and financial assistance is 31 December. Being offered financial assistance is not a guarantee of acceptance into an activity. You must compete for and receive a slot at an activity. You will be notified if you are a recipient of financial aid/scholarship before you are required to accept or decline a slot at an activity.  

Contact for Activity: or
Activity Website (if applicable): N/A
How to Apply:

Use the "Apply Online" link here or on the homepage to connect you to eServices' Registration and Payment System. Applicants will need to complete the application and upload the following documents in PDF format to the supplemental tab of their eServices application. All staff also must apply via eServices, or they will not receive credit for the activity in their records. For staff applicants, you will be contacted to let you know whether or not you have been selected. Applications will be accepted from 17 September to 20 November. To be considered for priority placement status, the completed application including supplemental documents must be submitted by 20 November. Applications submitted after 20 November are accepted but are marked "late" and will be considered AFTER all applications submitted before the deadline. Priority timelines do not apply to staff applications. 


Please use the tab titled "Supplemental Application" to upload the following documents to your NCLS eServices application.

1.  A resume of your achievement in CAP, school, and community service (1 page only)  ( Resumes will be graded by the resume standards set in Chapter 8 of Learn to Lead)
2.  A Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or leader (other than a parent)
3.  You may also be contacted for a phone interview with the activity director after you apply


1. A resume of your achievement in CAP, school, and community service (1 page only)
2. You will be contacted for a phone interview with the Activity Director after you apply

Reservists: Use CAP-USAF Sharepoint site to apply if you are CAP-USAFR. If activity is not listed on Sharepoint under "National Activities," then days have not been allocated for it. Contact Cadet Programs Reserve Support Liaison at, if you would like to attend on CAT E status or don't have access to the site and need someone to share opportunities with you.  Support to this activity includes coordination and liaise mission tasks.  You will be integrated into the staff during execution and may be required to attend online/teleconference staff meetings prior to the activity start date.

Eligibility Requirements:


Be at least 18 years old by 31 Dec 19
Be enrolled as a full-time college student
Possess the Earhart Award at time of application
COS, CLA, or IACE graduates preferred


Cadets: N/A

Senior Members: No additional requirements

Reservists: N/A, due to host requirements, Reserve support is not permitted at this activity via CAP

Graduation Requirements:

Take comprehensive notes, which will be reviewed by activity staff daily, to prepare for evening discussions
Actively participate in 80% of the contact hours and not dismissed early for behavior
Activity Director determines course objectives met


Participants arrive between 1000 and 2130 on 19 Feb and departs on 22 Feb no earlier than 0400

Staff arrives between 1000 and 2200 on 19 Feb  and departs on 22 Feb no earlier than 0400

Required Staff Training on 19 Feb at 1800

Civil Air Patrol provides transportation to and from Colorado Springs at no cost to the CAP participants. The US Air Force Academy provides ground transportation to and from the Colorado Springs Airport (COS).

Activity Goal:

Why is the character of today’s youth vital for America? The U.S. Air Force Academy’s National Character and Leadership Symposium, brings together distinguished scholars, military officers, corporate executives and other leaders to consider that important question.  Through NCLS's seminars and discussions, Cadets will enhance their own understanding of how moral character is an inseparable component of leadership, and help them reinforce the Civil Air Patrol's Core Values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect.

What to Expect:

USAFA cadets host the CAP participants for the duration of the symposium. Participants will stay in dorms, Vandenberg and Sijan Hall, which are co-ed with shower facilities on each hall. Participants eat meals with USAFA cadets, typically at Mitchell Hall. During the symposium hours, your USAFA host escorts you to main speaking events, as well as the seminars that you selected. Twice each day of the symposium, the CAP-contingent meets. In the morning, we review everyone's plan for the day, and in the evening, we review the day's events. NCLS participants should expect to put in long hours and take extensive notes to be able to participate in evening discussions. 

You can find more information by going to the NCLS 2020 website.

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