Cadet SS Jesus Monzon
Photos by Cadet Major Jacquelyn Tayler
Civil Air Patrol has had many days themed into the Civil Air Patrol curriculum, such as the aerospace themed trip to the Challenger Space Center earlier this year, but a character day has never been nationally done before, until now. That’s something that Arizona Wing participated in, this year on September 17, 2011.
Cadets from all over the state were invited to Falcon Field to listen to motivational speakers then to proceed to hands on activities. Not only were Cadets going to have fun during this day, but they were also going to fulfill the goals set by the founders of this program; to “motivate cadets to take seriously issues of character and honor, while recommitting themselves to the drug free ethic; (and to) further integrate the DDR program into CAP’s overall Cadet Program.”
55 Cadets from all Arizona Wing arrived at various times early in the morning and after reporting in they were seated into a small conference room. After everyone was seated and quieted with a quick "room, attention " the program started. Cadet 2ndLt. Jacqueline Andrieu kicked off the program with a quick and efficient class of safety; she then ended with the statement “every one can be a safety officer”.
Cadet Lt.Col. Jacqueline Taylor then took over the class with a plan in mind. That plan was to teach the Cadets about the United States Air Force Academy’s ARDA character model. Her class began explosively with a shocking picture of a man rappelling in a dangerous situation. Throughout her class she explained the acronym ARDA (A: Awareness, R: Reasoning, D: Decision, A: Action) and how it related to real life scenarios. By the end of the class Cadets were left thoughtful over their decisions.
Afterwards guest speaker Waldel Blackwell took the floor. He started off his presentation in a fun hip way that got everybody in a relaxed mood. He explained how our goals in life should be layered with achievements, and filled with side accomplishments to help layer up closer to a goal. He shared many statements which inspired cadets; such as “set your goals for you”, “no such thing as right & wrong, only consequences”, “followers avoid, leaders confront”. And not only did he create a great atmosphere he also emphasized that as Civil Air Patrol Cadets we must not avoid drugs, but confront them and say “Thank you, but no thank you”
Next Cadets were lead outside to participate in various activities that explored various character skills. The first activity was an obstacle course in which Cadets had to drive a remote controlled car while wearing glasses that gave the user sight problems (replicating being drunk). The second activity had Cadets racing each other while using walking planks. The third activity had Cadets relay racing while wearing the glasses that replicated how a drunken person would see. The fourth and final activity had Cadets playing Ultimate Frisbee.
Finally after a safety class, a character class, a motivational lecture and after having a good time with other Cadets, everyone was dismissed on a good note. As Cadet Lt.Col. Jacqueline Taylor put it, ‘It was an amazing activity that brought the Cadets of AZWG together not just as individuals, but as a team”. It became apparent at this point that everyone was sparked with a new fire in their hearts, and that fire was a fire which shall not extinguish, and will prevail the hardships of life, and that fire is the spirit of being a Civil Air Patrol Cadet who lives life to the fullest while being an ambassador for the Drug Free Ethic.