CAP gets new deputy commander in charge of cadetsWORTHINGTON — Some look at it as a trial run for a military career. Some are interested in flying.
WORTHINGTON — Some look at it as a trial run for a military career. Some are interested in flying.
Others are looking for the opportunity to soar personally.
They join for various reasons, but in the long run, they all have the same goal — to succeed and thrive as part of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).
There are currently 16 cadets in the CAP Worthington Composite Squadron MN-113.
Recently Worthington Police Sgt. Bill Bolt was named as the Deputy Commander in Charge of Cadets, a role he is taking on with great enthusiasm.
“My goal is to provide every cadet with the opportunity to become great through character development, leadership training, academic study, hard work and a whole lot of fun,” Bolt said.
Seventeen-year-old Aric Ablog, the cadet commander, has been a part of the CAP for three years, and said he’s been able to do things that many people his age have not — practice search and rescue, learn about flight marshaling and take advantage of leadership opportunities.
“I had a lot of interest in joining,” he said. “I wouldn’t have these same opportunities if I wasn’t part of the CAP.”
James Arnt, 13, said he’s been thinking about joining the U.S. Air Force, so he decided to start with CAP. Someday, he said, he hopes to be a pilot, maybe in the area of crop dusting.
He’s not the only one interested in taking to the skies.
“I want to learn how to fly, and I want to know more about search and rescue,” said Jorge Fuentes, 14.
“I want to fly, and I think being part of CAP will look good on a college application,” added Nathan Thompson, 14.
Taran Hunt, 15, said he likes to try new things and wants to learn more about the Air Force, while Shawn Hillesheim, 14 years old and a new recruit, said he hopes to learn life skills and values.
“We offer young people character development, leadership training, work ethics, integrity, honor and pride,” Bolt said. “Cadets who do well in the program have opportunities for scholarships, and many young people who enter military academies come out of the CAP.”
Bolt has personal experience seeing the positive benefits of the cadet program. His 13-year-old son, Hunter, has been part of CAP for several years.
“He’s a staff sergeant,” Bolt said. “I’ve seen him accept responsibility willingly, volunteer in the community, and I can see his desire to challenge himself.”
When asked why he chose to join the CAP, Hunter said he wanted to join a military organization.
“I love the discipline and structure of it,” he added.
Cadets are one part of the CAP. According to their mission statements, the CAP has three federally mandated missions: Emergency services, aerospace education and the cadet program.
“There are two aspects to the adult program,” Bolt explained.
The cadet program is one of those aspects. Working with the youth is very important, Bolt said, and the adult members who do so are held to the highest standards.
“For those who want to help youth develop to their full potential, we can always use help,” he added.
The other aspect of adult CAP service involves search and rescue, flight observation and things of that nature.
The CAP is often used by law enforcement during searches and natural disasters. They can be mobilized to help find a missing child and are credited with sinking a submarine off America’s coast during World War II.
“They have saved a lot of lives,” Bolt said.
A cadet can climb as high with CAP as he or she wants to go, along the way picking up skills and experiencing new things, he added.
Recently, the cadets volunteered to serve as victims during a search and rescue training flight in a C-130, which gave them the opportunity to fly in the plane with the crew that had just “rescued” them.
“We also do a lot of volunteer work, and encourage the cadets to get out and find more volunteer opportunities,” Bolt said.
From picking up trash, helping at food pantries, offering assistance at the library and even helping with traffic control at a parade, the cadets perform a variety of tasks.
They also, Bolt said, are taught to take responsibility for their own program, with the more long-term cadets mentoring and training the newer members.
“A great deal of the program is about the leadership opportunities we put back on the cadets,” Bolt explained. “It is definitely a commitment on their part, but the rewards it gives will serve for a lifetime.”
The Worthington cadet squadron meets Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the CAP building at the Worthington Airport.
“If a young person, boy or girl, is at least 12 years old, they can join,” Bolt said. “First, talk to your parents, then come to the next meeting or call me at 507-360-7941. This is a great opportunity to learn, grow and have fun.”