The Elizabethtown chapter of the Civil Air Patrol’s youth program has continued to work and progress even during a pandemic.
2nd Lt. Tiffany Boren is the public affairs officer for the local patrol chapter. She said CAP is a national organization that primarily is responsible for search and rescue and other emergency services provided by local and trained teams.
CAP also provides aerospace education for youth, along with cadet programs that give opportunities to young people in leadership, skills training and character building through different projects and programs.
The Elizabethtown chapter has been there for about three years, but Boren said it has been revived in the past year or so. The chapter is located out of Addington Field in Elizabethown with around 25 cadets between the ages of 12 and 18-years-old and eight senior members, representing six different counties.
Cadets pay dues of $40 a year and senior members pay $70 a year, and meet every Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Addington with a different focus each week.
On a regular basis, Boren said cadets learn flight and aerospace subjects including aircraft, weather, physics, rocketry, drones and physiology. She also said cadets have hands-on emergency training such as first aid and participate in Hawk Mountain Ranger School.
Cadets also get to do observation orientation rides in an actual airplane.
Since the pandemic, Boren said it forced the group to get creative, using online training and meetings. Recently, they have been able to meet a few times while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, and have volunteered at Mission Hope for Kids to packs boxes, and Treats in the Park in October at Freeman Lake.
The group also is paired with a RAF Air Cadet Squadron in South Shield Great Britain, and currently are planning a visit from their commander. The squadron, KY 131 Heartland Composite Squadron, also was awarded Composite Squadron of the Year last year.
Cadet Berenice Blanton, a 16-year-old home school student in Hudson, is the captain for the Cyber Patriot team, which is within the CAP chapter.
Cyber Patriot is sponsored by the Air Force Association with the main goal of teaching cadets about cyber security. Cadets compete in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition where cadets have to find and fix vulnerabilities on virtual machines.
At the last competition in January, which is the third round, the team ended up placing third in the state. The team’s preliminary ranks for the All Service Division were third in the state, fourth in the Great Lakes Region and 49th nationwide. The team was not able to qualify for the national competition in March.
“All things considered, we did an amazing job and I’m very proud of our team, and next year, we’re definitely going to be in nationals,” Blanton said.
She said Cyber Patriot is a good way for those interested in STEM to learn and develop skills for the field.
“It really has made me passionate about it, and helped me learn more about something that I want to have a career in the future,” Blanton said.
Boren said adults and youth interested in CAP can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.