MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Twenty-four of Civil Air Patrol’s outstanding cadets are gathered in Washington, D.C., this week for the Civic Leadership Academy, part of a real-world, hands-on experience long recognized as one of America’s premier civic education activities.
Scheduled from Feb. 21-28, the weeklong academy provides CAP cadets interested in politics and careers in public service to participate in behind-the-scenes tours and briefings at the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, State Department, Pentagon, CIA, Arlington National Cemetery and other places of interest in the nation’s capital.
“This is not your average field trip to Washington,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity afforded to our very best cadets, who receive a well-rounded understanding of government leadership, public service and the principles that guide our nation.”
Now in its 14th year as one of CAP’s National Cadet Special Activities, CLA allows a select group of cadets to experience the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government firsthand. It is an academically intense, interactive study of U.S. government in action, providing participants the opportunity to grow as citizens and young leaders through lessons in persuasive leadership, federal government, public service careers and American heritage.
In recognition of CLA’s outstanding academic value, the National Association of Secondary School Principals has again placed it on the National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2014-15. The NASSP’s National Committee on Student Contests and Activities annually evaluates the educational value and organizational structure of school-related program opportunities nationwide and recommends those worthwhile to principals, teachers, parents and students. CLA has made the organization’s National Advisory List in each of the past eight years.
In addition to a blend of lectures, seminars and assigned readings from historic and current sources, the cadets also visit the National Archives: legislative offices; and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, as well as the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam Veterans, Women in Military Service and Lincoln memorials. At each of these locations, they hear from VIPs who provide insights designed to deepen their understanding of government in action. Their CLA tasks culminate with a final project – a presentation on their CLA experience to their peers in their home squadrons and wings.
“This is a chance to not just learn about government, but to interact with it,” said CLA director Lt. Col. Bill Brockman, who is a founding faculty member of the academy. “Our cadets learn that individuals and small groups are often the agents for change, and they realize the power of persuasive leadership. These are two of the many powerful lessons they take home with them when they return to their communities.”
On Feb. 26, the CLA cadets will participate in CAP’s 2015 Legislative Day, where they will meet with their elected leaders on Capitol Hill. As part of the annual event, the cadets assist their region and wing commanders in briefing their representatives and senators on how CAP’s primary missions of emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs have benefited their communities.
“Each year I’m amazed at the outstanding service the cadets provide on Legislative Day,” said Brockman. “Having articulate, squared-away cadets in uniform explain what Civil Air Patrol is about, and what our volunteers have done leaves a very favorable impression on the Hill.”
Vazquez said CLA is one of CAP’s most important activities because the 24 cadets chosen for the experience represent America’s future.
“We want these cadets to be thoughtful participants and leaders in their communities,” he said. “The principles they learn in Washington will help them do just that.”
Participants in the 2015 academy:
Gadsden Composite Squadron
Maxwell Composite Squadron
Jakob R. McGaughey
Verde Valley Composite Squadron 205
Jessica L. Parsons
95th Composite Squadron
Samantha V. Bell
Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47
Josiah R. Bierle
Thompson Valley Composite Squadron
Emma R. Hanley
Eagle Cadet Squadron
Klayten E. Visser
Cecil Field Composite Squadron
Nathan R. Martus
Miami Springs Optimist Cadet Squadron
Glenn A. Camilo-Reoyo
Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron
Kyle A. Curabba and Andrea D. Slouha
Wheeler Composite Squadron
Towson Composite Squadron
Mark A. Kreynovich and Kira D. Stiers
North Hennepin Composite Squadron
Las Vegas Composite Squadron 70
Ryan W. Blount
New Jersey Wing
Jack Schweiker Composite Squadron
Chance T. Euchler
New York Wing
Phoenix Composite Squadron
Columbus Composite Squadron
Patrick J. Smith
McGhee-Tyson Composite Squadron
Paul J Schwarzentraub
Weber Minutemen Composite Squadron
Rosalyn C. Carlisi
Southside Composite Squadron
Michael A. Stokes
Waukesha Composite Squadron
Milwaukee Composite Squadron 5
Zachary E. Klotz
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for the past 73 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.