MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Fifty-seven cadets from 33 Civil Air Patrol wings and their 16 adult escorts will help foster goodwill July 14-Aug. 1 as they participate in the International Air Cadet Exchange, an annual networking event for aviation-minded young people from across the globe.
“Through this exchange, Civil Air Patrol cadets greatly expand their horizons,” said Lt. Col. Beverly L. Scoggins, CAP’s IACE director. “Our cadets experience different cultures in a unique way that most young people can only dream of.”
IACE gives the CAP cadets and their escorts an opportunity to serve as ambassadors by visiting participating countries and promoting international friendship and understanding through a common focus on aviation. Cadets are selected to visit one of 20 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom. CAP members also host 68 international teens visiting the U.S., participating in aviation-related activities alongside them.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for everyone involved,” said Scoggins, who has been abroad twice – to Norway and Singapore – as a cadet escort. She also has attended IACE planning conferences in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Turkey in her role as CAP’s IACE director.
“The IACE experience is incredible,” said Scoggins. “The cadets and their escorts see the host countries, not like tourists, but as members of the local community. Many stay with host families and they make life-long friendships.”
Here in the U.S., in addition to three days in Washington, D.C., next week, the international teens will spend 10 days in a host CAP wing. This year, those host wings are Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
IACE is conducted by the International Air Cadet Exchange Association, a league of 20 air cadet organizations that involves more than 500 young people worldwide. CAP has sponsored cadet participation in the program since 1948.
Through its 70-year-old cadet program, CAP builds strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.
The International Air Cadet Exchange is one of 30 National Cadet Special Activities being sponsored by CAP across the nation this summer. These activities allow cadets to hone their skills in a variety of areas, including search and rescue, flight and emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies, and to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers. In 2011, more than 1,000 youth participated in CAP-sponsored summer activities.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.