The U.S. Air Force announced Feb. 3 that it would continue to help fund the Civil Air Patrol’s popular weeklong encampment program for aviation-minded high school students.
Nearly 7,200 cadet campers participated in the 2015 program, including about 1,000 cadets who were eligible for the economic assistance grants that helped cadets with tuition and uniforms.
In a story announcing the inaugural grant, AOPA reported that the learning academies are big events in cadets’ lives, often providing ways for the youths to advance in rank, with classes in leadership, physical fitness, and life skills.
“The experiences the cadets had at the encampments—developing leadership skills, investigating aerospace sciences and career options and solidifying their moral character—were life-altering events for these young Americans,” said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, in a news release.
Welsh said the program supports the Air Force’s goals of inspiring character; diversity; fitness; and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) development.
When the initial grants were announced, Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, the patrol’s national commander, said cadets who attended encampments achieved more and advanced further in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program. “This learning experience is very important for the cadets, their families, their communities, CAP, and, in years down the line, for America,” he said.