CARMEL, N.Y. -- The Civil Air Patrol’s Putnam County Composite Squadron held an open house for area residents at the Paladin Center on Seminary Hill Road this past Friday.
Those attending had the opportunity to speak with members and view displays featuring model rockets, a wind tunnel demonstrating aerodynamics and emergency services gear.
CAP, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.
Capt. Elena MacDermant, the squadron’s commander, welcomed visitors, provided a brief history of the squadron and spoke about the leadership, emergency services skills and confidence that cadets acquire as they progress through the program.
Along with emergency services training, CAP teaches its students everything from flying and rocketry to robotics, coding and leadership.
“At some point in your life you will lead people,” MacDermant said. “What you learn about leadership in CAP will stay with you the rest of your life. The emergency services skills you learn will also stay with you, and may save you one day.”
Attendees also heard from cadet officers about their experiences, from the thrill of a first flight, to launching rockets, attending encampments and participating in search and rescue exercises.
Col. Joe Wooley, Southeastern Group commander, also spoke to the audience, emphasizing the lifelong skills cadets learn by active participation in the program.
In addition, Wooley noted the various opportunities available to parents, from working with cadets to participating in local or statewide missions.
With 56,000 members nationwide, the agency also performs homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
More than 24,000 young people currently participate in the CAP cadet program.
Members of the Putnam County Composite Squadron meet on Fridays from 7-9 p.m. at the Paladin Center.
For more information, contact MacDermant by phone at 845-216-5433, or by email at Elenamac@aol.com.
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