Twenty-four outstanding Civil Air Patrol cadets from 19 wings are gathering in Washington, D.C., this weekend for the Civic Leadership Academy, part of a real-world, hands-on activity long recognized nationally as a top-notch educational experience.
“If you are interested in politics and careers in public service, this is for you,” said Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP’s national commander and CEO. “CLA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity afforded to our very best cadets, who receive a well-rounded understanding of government leadership, public service and the principles that guide us.”
Scheduled to begin Saturday and end March 4, the weeklong academy isn’t the average field trip to Washington. The select group of cadets participates in behind-the-scenes tours and briefings at the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, State Department, Pentagon, CIA, Arlington National Cemetery and other notable places in the nation’s capital.
Now in its 12th year as one of CAP’s National Cadet Special Activities, CLA allows participants to experience the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government firsthand. It’s an academically intense, interactive study of U.S. government in action, providing participants the opportunity to grow as citizens and young leaders through lessons in persuasive leadership, federal government, public service careers and American heritage.
In recognition of CLA’s outstanding academic value, the National Association of Secondary School Principals has again placed it on the National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2016-17. The NASSP’s National Committee on Student Contests and Activities annually evaluates the educational value and organizational structure of school-related program opportunities nationwide and recommends those it finds worthwhile to principals, teachers, parents and students. CLA has made the organization’s National Advisory List each of the past nine years.
In addition to a blend of lectures, seminars and assigned readings from historic and current sources, the cadets also visit the National Archives, legislative offices and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, as well as the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam Veterans, Women in Military Service and Lincoln memorials.
At each of these locations they hear from VIPs who provide insights designed to deepen their understanding of government in action. Their CLA tasks culminate with a final project — a presentation on their CLA experience to their peers in their home squadrons and wings.
“This project gives our cadets an opportunity to interact with government,” said Lt. Col. Elliott Korona, CLA director. “They learn that individuals and small groups are often the agents for change, and they realize the power of persuasive leadership.”
On March 2 the CLA cadets will participate in CAP’s 2017 Legislative Day, where they will meet with their elected leaders on Capitol Hill. As part of the annual event, the cadets assist their region and wing commanders in briefing their representatives and senators on how CAP’s primary missions of emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs have benefited their communities.
“Our cadets leave a favorable impression on the Hill,” Korona said. “As part of Legislative Day, they are always eager to meet with their congressional leaders and ready to explain what Civil Air Patrol is all about and what our volunteers have done over the past year.”
Vazquez said CLA is one of CAP’s most important activities because the 24 cadets chosen for the experience represent America’s future.
“It is our hope that these cadets will be inspired through CLA and the principles they learn here in Washington,” he said. “We want them to remember these lessons when they return home, and be thoughtful participants and leaders in their communities.”
- Cadet 1st Lt. Hannah G. Cheatham, 42nd Composite Squadron
- Cadet Capt. Andrew T.G. Varnes, East Tucson Cadet Squadron
- Cadet Lt. Col. Nicole J. Khattar, Corona Cadet Squadron 29
- Cadet Capt. Samuel Cho Skyhawk, Composite Squadron 47
- Cadet Lt. Col. Keith P. Trotochaud, Danielson Cadet Squadron
- Cadet Col. Viviana L. Angelini, Clearwater Composite Squadron
- Cadet Maj. Mark P. Lyford, Seminole Composite Squadron
- Cadet Maj. Jett Hawk, Pocatello Composite Squadron
- Laivi Y. Grossman, Palwaukee Composite Squadron
- Cadet 2nd Lt. Sally Edmondson, Hanscom Composite Squadron
- Cadet Maj. Justin Ramey, Flathead Composite Squadron
National Capital Wing
- Cadet 1st Lt. Rebecca A. Jensen, Fairfax Composite Squadron
- Cadet Capt. Daniel A. Lisle, Bayshore Composite Squadron
New York Wing
- Cadet 1st Lt. Joseph A. Wagner, Syracuse Cadet Squadron
- Cadet Col. Vincent Allen, Columbus Composite Squadron
- Cadet Capt. Anna Selchow, Columbia Composite Squadron
- Cadet Lt. Col. Connor T. Quinn, Doylestown Composite Squadron 907
- Cadet Maj. Mathieu Quinn Barron Armstrong, County Composite Squadron
- Cadet 2nd Lt. Samantha Rose Thompson, Williamsport Composite Squadron 401
- Cadet Maj. Lexie J. Higdon, Henry County Composite Squadron
- Cadet 1st Lt. Colton J. Mansfield, Blackhawk Cadet Squadron
- Cadet 1st Lt. Emily K. Miner, Weber Minuteman Composite Squadron
- Cadet Col. Sabrina T. Fuller, West Richmond Cadet Squadron
- Cadet Capt. Tasha McKelvey, Yellowstone Regional Composite Squadron