Cadet Character

Civil Air Patrol emboldens youth, challenging them to live the cadet ethic of integrity and to embrace timeless values. CAP develops character in youth through formal values education and informal mentoring as moral dilemmas arise in cadets’ lives. Our youth are the proud cadets of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, eager to demonstrate their core values.


Character Forums: Cadets explore contemporary ethical issues through the lens of their core values. Facilitated by CAP chaplains or other trained adults, cadets use character forums to discern their own values on topics of interest to them, such as peer pressure, relating to parents, tolerance, dating and more. Character development forums are held locally each month, reaching all 24,000 cadets.

Drug Demand Reduction: In partnership with the Air Force surgeon general, CAP helps curb the demand for drugs by reinforcing positive lifestyles. DDR funding, totaling $450,000 annually and augmented by CAP and volunteer resources, helps support cadet activities that promote a drug-free ethic. Moreover, DDR activities encourage cadets to motivate their peers to follow their lead.

Cadet Competition: Eager to show off their aerospace knowledge, physical fitness and precision on the drill field, cadet drill teams and color guards vie against one another in competitions at the state, regional and national levels. Rising to the occasion with good sportsmanship, cadets amaze spectators with their esprit de corps. The competitions are varied, but this activity is all about character. Each year, 144 cadets earn the right to compete for national honors, and about 800 more compete locally.


CAP equips cadets to think critically about the moral dimensions of problems they encounter and then to face them with courage. Surveys indicate that cadets have a lower prevalence of lifetime alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and higher protective factor scores. In other words, CAP cadets choose healthy lifestyles and honor timeless values.

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