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Civil Air Patrol Encampment question


Guest Wekivasprings
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Guest Wekivasprings

My son has been in CAP for a couple years now and really enjoys it. He is reaching the point where he is going to be limited in his advancement if he doesn't attend an encampment, I have heard nothing good about encampment from the parents at CAP. Yelling, screaming, cursing, belittling for a week doesn't sound like a great time and not something I want to subject my teen to. Why would this behavior allowed and participated in by the staff and CAP leadership? This is not the military and these are kids, not soldiers.

 

My only other experience with a weekend outing was him and several other cadets being harassed and cursed at by a senior cadet in the presence of the wing commander. 

 

I also don't like the idea of being cut off from communication for a week for something like this. I have no problem with the grueling schedule, work, PT, etc. I do have a problem with the moral breakdown of the leadership. 

 

Is this something you parents have experienced or am I dealing with a bad CAP wing?

 

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My dd had a bad experience at the CAP encampment. It was so bad that one of the girls threw up every night. She was shouted at, cursed, and emotionally/mentally wounded in front of adult CAP members and they did nothing to stop it.. Had I known what she was enduring, I would have gone to get her.  Upon arriving for graduation, we were stunned how terribly the leadership presented itself -- sloppily dressed, inarticulate, and extremely rude. We reported her experience to the national headquarters.

 

There is a website where you can see pictures of your cadet, but those photos just show them marching, eating, and standing at attention. I don't know why the behavior is tolerated. I do know that the unit where we live is less than stellar and we can't wait to move and find a new one (her prior unit was wonderful!). The leadership's commitment and outlook vary by state; we have lived in 3 states (military) and this was/is our first bad experience with CAP.

 

 

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We are in Oregon and my son participates in CAP.  He has been to several encampments - one as a basic and then as staff for the others.  There was one weekend for a rocketry event that had and issue, but that was resolved by going up the chain of command.  I know there is some yelling, etc. at the encampment, but this is suppose to be a mini boot camp so to speak.  My son has never said that this kind of behavior was excessive.  Really sorry to hear of the horrible experiences - (

 

T

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I was a cadet once upon a time, and have been to more than a dozen encampments, both as a cadet and as an adult.  The quality really varies based on the leadership - some years it's a mess, other years it's the best experience these kids could possibly have, sometimes one flight will have a problem while the others are great.  If you trust the leaders at your local unit, get their opinion, because some of them will likely be on the encampment staff and have an inside view.  There will be some yelling (as pp said it's a taste of the military lifestyle and the kids take pride in having "survived" it), but it shouldn't become humiliating or abusive.  He will have to have a thick skin, which will serve him well in other parts of his life anyway.  The things they can learn are totally worth it, IMO - that's why attendance is required before the Mitchell award.  You won't be totally cut off from communication, but it will be by letter not email or phone, and there are good reasons for that too, to avoid distractions and foster independence: if Timmy is calling home every forty five minutes to complain about how mean his flight commander is, Timmy isn't going to learn anything.

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Our son attended encampment two summers ago, the one at the Air Force Academy that was cut short due to the fires in Colorado Springs.  Though it was definitely military style, and there was some yelling, etc. which was to be expected, he found it to be well run, professional behavior, and a great experience.  As others have said, I think it varies widely depending upon those running the camp.

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I went to several CAP encampments. It's definitely 'military'. But, not quite as intense as the real deal, and in my experience it was professional and well done (WA state here).

 

He really won't be able to progress without going to one, I'm afraid.

 

What would he like? Does he want to go?

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