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First Steps

Are you ready to take the next step and join the Civil Air Patrol?

Step 1. Find a local CAP squadron

The first step in joining Civil Air Patrol is to find your local squadron. The local squadron is the best place to find answers to specific questions about membership. You can find squadrons near you by entering your zip code or city and state in the National Online Unit Locator. To learn more about our squadrons go to the Find a Squadron page.

Types of Squadrons:

CADET (Youth and Adults)
Cadet squadrons only have a youth program for cadets. There are senior members in this program, but their purpose is to manage the youth program. Adults join if their primary interest is working with the cadets. More information about Cadet Squadrons is located here.

SENIOR (Adults)
Senior squadrons only have an adult program for senior members 18 years of age and older. Cadets are not accepted into senior squadrons.
More information about Senior Squadrons is located here.

Composite squadrons have both a Cadet and a Senior program.

Step 2. Contact the squadron

Using the National Online Unit Locator call and/or email the unit contact person and confirm the meeting date, time, and location. You can also take the opportunity to ask questions about membership eligibility. Keep in mind that the phone number or email posted is often the personal contact information for the CAP member. All of our members are volunteers and try to respond to membership inquiries as soon as possible, so please give them a few days to respond. If you encounter a wrong number or incorrect email address or otherwise have difficulty contacting the local unit, please email us through the Contact Page for assistance.

Step 3. Attend a meeting

The best way to learn more about CAP is to attend a meeting. You’ll have a chance to see how meetings are run and what types of activities are available. It would be best to visit all the squadrons that are convenient to you. Each squadron is different, with unique leadership, culture, and volunteer opportunities. Typically you will attend three meetings before completing your membership application.

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