With more pilots per capita than any other state in the Nation, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) provides a crucial service to Alaskans with search and rescue operations as well as vital training to local youth through the CAP Cadet program.
For more than fifty years the CAP has held their meetings in the CAP hanger among the aircraft at the Kenai Airport. Now due to a generous donation from Agrium's Kenai Nitrogen Operations of a portable building unit, the CAP Cadets will have their own meeting place next to the hanger.
John Landua, a control systems engineer at Agrium and a CAP 2nd Lt. was the liaison that brought the Cadets need for a building to the Agrium management, "A few months ago our temporary office space became surplus and I saw the possibility of getting a much needed place for the CAP Cadet program, so I wrote a letter and Agrium kindly agreed to donate one of the buildings to the Civil Air Patrol for use as a cadet meeting room for our aerospace education program, " said Landua.
CAP Commander Gene Moyer was handed the keys to the new Cadet building last week by Agrium general manager Bill Boycott and said he was excited to be getting the new facility, "This new building is really going to help out the Cadet program and give them an opportunity to have a meeting place for themselves rather than meeting in the hanger with the airplanes and it'll also have an office for our Deputy Commander of Cadets, so we are really looking forward to getting a lot of good use from the building," said Commander Moyer. The CAP is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and with budget constraints nationwide Commander Moyer added that the building will be especially appreciated and be put up on its new site with volunteer labor.
The CAP Cadet program is designed for youth between the ages of 12-18 years of age and focuses on leadership training classes and aerospace education, "We're teaching the kids how to make better decisions and give the opportunity to exercise responsibility," said 2nd Lt. Mike McBride, Deputy Commander for the Cadets.
Activities that the Cadets participate in include a week long boot camp where they also get to fly in powered aircraft and gliders, and also get involved with radio controlled aircraft and model rocketry, "We fly every chance we get, and with each promotion the Cadets get to fly for about an hour with one of our regular CAP pilots and can advance to attend encampments in Florida where they actually learn to fly an aircraft," added McBride.
The program presently serves about a dozen Cadets, but they are looking to grow the unit now with their new building. According to McBride any young person interested in becoming a CAP Cadet is invited to come by the CAP hanger Monday nights at 6:30pm. Parents are always welcome to visit as well and learn about the program first hand.
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