When our young teen son told us he wanted to join the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), I thought my wife was going to lock him up in a cage. She had visions of him marching off to war on his 18th birthday and her mom instinct kicked in, I guess.
A year later, she is proud of her newly promoted Technical Sergeant and all the training he has received in just little more than a year.
Civil Air Patrol is the auxiliary arm of the U.S. Air Force and is run by volunteers. The organization is open to boys and girls starting at age 12. Adults can also join as Senior Members and receive much of the same training available to the younger members. In fact, Senior Members are very welcome to join as many of them become regular attendees at meetings and volunteer at events to help coordinate.
Just some of the training available in CAP is an initial Encampment, which is their version of boot camp. My son learned teamwork, critical thinking, how to work and think under pressure, and a more regimented life than he experiences at home. When we picked him up from Encampment, he was beaming. My wife had worried that being yelled at by his senior officers would be traumatic, but the opposite happened. He thrived under pressure. As a dad, that was good to see.
Since then, he’s gone on to get training in basic and intermediate first aid, ground search and rescue, building wilderness shelters, knot tying, rapelling, water purification, setting up campsites, campfire cooking, and much, much more. He’s flown in a tiny 4-seater airplane and has crawled across a river, hanging from a rope.
I’m impressed with the variety of training CAP offers, and many classes teach skills and knowledge important for survival and preparedness. One series of classes teaches the basics of air traffic control, another teaches communications. Wilderness First Aid, wilderness survival, emergency response training — these are just a very, very few of the trainings and classes offered, and all at very low prices.
Our son spent a full week in training for ground search and rescue, and we paid just a little over $200. He came home a little more confident, a lot more informed about search and rescue, and covered from ankle to waist in chigger bites from a nighttime crawl through the woods. He had a blast and was darn proud of those bites!
If you’re looking for some excellent, high quality training in numerous areas related to survival and prepping, take a look at Civil Air Patrol. Along with what you get out of the deal, you’ll end up trained to help out as a volunteer in all types of natural disasters and other emergencies.