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Encampment is one of the most important and memorable activities experienced by a cadet during their time in Civil Air Patrol. Encampments are typically held over a period of 6-7 days at numerous locations/dates across the country. Though cadets have the ability to attend any encampment throughout the year, the vast majority of our cadets attend the Tri-Wing Encampment.
The Tri-Wing Encampment serves members from the Maryland, National Capitol, and Delaware Wings and is held during the summer of each year. Throughout the week, cadets receive instruction on and participate in activities that fall within four majors categories - leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character development. In addition, cadets have the ability to experience a number of unique opportunities including orientation flights in military aircraft, obstacle courses, weapon simulators, rappelling, and emergency services training.
The purpose of the cadet encampment is for cadets to develop leadership skills, investigate the aerospace sciences and related careers, commit to a habit of regular exercise, and solidify their moral character.
Encampment presents the five key traits of cadet life – the uniform, aerospace themes, opportunities to lead, challenge, and fun – in an intensive environment that moves cadets beyond their normal comfort zones for personal growth.
Through activities such as rappelling, obstacle courses, firearms training, and the like, encampments encourage safe, calculated risk-taking in a safe environment. To develop their resilience, cadets may encounter momentary setbacks toward their personal and team goals during the carefully designed activities. Adult guidance and encouragement from fellow cadets ensures a supportive environment.
Encampment showcases the Cadet Program’s regimented, military-like training model in a positive, age-appropriate manner consistent with CAP and Air Force traditions. Encampments operate at a higher level of intensity in respect to the military aspects of cadet life than virtually any other cadet activity, short of some of the premiere NCSAs. The strictness, rigor, sense of urgency, and overall expectations of military bearing will be markedly more challenging at encampment – yet still age-appropriate – compared with a weekly squadron meeting or Saturday field exercise. CAPP 52-23, Cadet Protection Policy Implementation Guide, is a “must read” for its valuable discussion about intensity levels.
Overall, encampments should be fun, in part because they challenge cadets and enable them to earn a sense of accomplishment
*From the Cadet Encampment Guide
Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing