Each year, wings (states) across Civil Air Patrol host annual encampments which provide junior cadets with a week-long training experience on the fundamentals of "cadet life," to include general knowledge, drill and ceremonies, uniform wear, and exploratory activities to expand cadets' opportunities to progress through CAP and participate in many more activities thereafter.
To receive credit for participation, students must participate in at least 80% of the encampment training curriculum, which occurs over the course of the training week. Encampment is a multi-overnight experience, and cadets will be required to stay in dormitories or barracks.
Ohio Wing Encampment
The annual Ohio Wing Encampment is held every summer (June or July, depending on scheduling) and receives hundreds of cadet members from across the country to undergo their student training. While locations may vary, Encampment will typically occur at a military training facility, university, boarding academy, or scout camp-style facility.
Encampments in Other Wings
Almost every CAP wing holds an encampment; although, some wings conduct joint encampments to share facilities and staff during the training week. Several wings hold multiple encampments per year, to include winter encampment experiences.
While it is generally easiest for cadets within Ohio to attend the annual Ohio Wing Encampment, it might not be feasible for cadets to attend based on the scheduled dates of the event. In some cases, cadets may prefer to have an experience further away in a different climate or experience activities that Ohio Wing might not offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is encampment like a boot camp?
No. Encampment is not intended to replicate a military-style boot camp experience.
While there may be some instances of stress and time criticality during activities, encampment is not intended to put cadets into an environment to be "screamed at by drill instructors" or face a harsh, military-style training program (i.e., basic military training, special forces training, etc.).
Encampment is designed to be a structured learning program in which cadets will learn more about Civil Air Patrol knowledge and other key aspects of the Cadet Program curriculum. Encampments may offer challenging team-building experiences, such as obstacles courses. There may also be additional educational opportunities, such as field trips to local museums or touring military facilities. In some instances, cadets may receive orientation flights or have unique opportunity to fly in military aircraft.
Do cadets get yelled at during encampment?
While there may be a level of higher volumes and use of "command voices" at encampment, cadets should not be getting "screamed at" or verbally abused in order to comply with instructions.
The adult leadership at encampment is specifically trained to ensure that any abuse, to including bullying and/or hazing, does not occur.
Do cadets have to go to encampment? Is it optional?
Cadets must attend, and graduate from, at least one encampment in order to advance to become a cadet officer. Cadets who do not attend encampment will not be able to promote to the grade of Cadet Second Lieutenant (approximately 20 months into their CAP membership).
Encampment may be a prerequisite to attend certain National Cadet Special Activities.
A major intent of the encampment program is to provide cadets with the experience in staying for a week-long duration, overnight at a CAP activity and to receive standardized training in CAP knowledge to prepare individuals to attend more complex, and often more competitive, activities thereafter.
Can cadets serve on staff encampment?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, the majority of encampment is cadet-led by more experienced cadets who have previously graduated from encampment and have returned to participate as staff (or "cadre") later on. These cadets will hold a role to serve as direct trainers of student cadets or in various support staff positions "behind-the-scenes" (logistics, planning, etc.). Many cadets go on to staff multiple encampments.
In order to staff an encampment, cadets must first have graduated as a student.
Serving on cadet staff at encampment is entirely voluntary and usually requires cadets to undergo a complex application process and interview for a cadet cadre position. Be sure to review each encampment's application process, as they can differ vastly between wings.
What is the minimum age to attend encampment?
There is no minimum age to attend. At the least, the individual must be an active cadet in Civil Air Patrol to enroll in any encampment as a student.
Parents and cadets should find an encampment that best suits the experience they are looking for prior to applying. It should be noted that some encampment experiences may not be preferred for some cadets, especially younger cadets who may wish to wait an additional year before attending their first encampment. It is not uncommon for young cadets to feel overwhelmed and placed into a "culture shock" by living in a dormitory or barracks for the week away from home, particularly for those who have not spent a week away from their parents before.