WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — For years, the Middle Georgia Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol has given adults a chance to get involved in volunteer work. Now, they want to give young people the same chance.
It wasn't that long ago that Matthew Papandrea was a civil air patrol cadet. Now as a deputy commander, he's able to extend the opportunity to others coming after him.
"I actually joined when I was 12 years old, 13 years ago. I started as a cadet myself, progressed through the cadet program, and continued my membership even until today," he explained.
For years, the Middle Georgia Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol has only had adult participants. Now, they say they want to build a cadet program from the ground up.
"We're opening up that membership to our cadet program side of it, so that's youth ages 12-17, where they can learn more about leadership, be exposed to potential Air Force or other leadership curriculum and career paths that they might be interested in," he said.
The program is volunteer-based, carrying out emergency services and disaster relief missions nationwide.
"So our emergency services missions range from a ground-based search and rescue, whether that's a lost hiker or downed aircraft, to disaster relief, so aerial imagery, hurricane relief efforts, aerial photography -- so there's a wide range of missions that we support through the Air Force,” he continued.
Just like the adults in the program, kids 12-17 can gain Air Force experience.
"Certain ages have different limitations, but as far as the ground team and aerospace capacity, those are open to cadets. It just depends on the age and how far they can get into it,” he said.
For those interested in letting their kids try it out, he believes it’s well worth it.
"We had tons of opportunities to learn more about being a future leader. I personally went through the program and I believe it’s the best way to prepare for that,” he said.
Children must be at least 12 but no older than 17.
if you want more information, you can attend the August 22 informational session at Trinity United Methodist Church.
RSVP here: https://CAPMiddleGA.rsvpify.com