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What to Expect

General Overview

CAP's Cadet Encampment Program is designed to provide an immersive experience for cadet students to receive standardized training to support their progression through the CAP cadet ranks and develop skills to support their membership in their local squadron. 

Additionally, cadets serving on staff at encampment—making up the encampment's cadet cadre—have the opportunity to put into practice their leadership skills to support their role as mentors and instructors for junior cadets as well as their involvement in various support staff positions. 

Encampment is not a military boot camp, but it does carry a relatively high intensity.

Encampments tend to operate at a higher level of intensity in respect to the military aspects of cadet life than most other cadet activities. Nonetheless, encampments do not serve to replicate or mimic military boot camps or basic training environments. 

That said, encampments generally maintain a more challenging environment—with a higher level of strictness, rigor, sense of urgency, and overall expectations of military bearing that a weekly squadron meeting. Cadets who graduate from encampment should feel a sense of accomplishment for making it through a more demanding week-long, multi-night experience that operates under high standards. 

Encampment staff members, including cadet cadre, receive training to ensure that moments of heightened intensity are appropriately enacted upon and that age-based considerations are made when monitoring students' stress levels during the week, to include making necessary adjustments to intensity levels as training continues. Encampment participants and parents should be mindful that all cadets, including those on cadre, are being trained and mentored; and cadre members receive regular feedback throughout the week as to how to handle situations appropriately in order to be a more effective leader. 

A multi-night experience designed to prepare cadets for greater opportunities. 

For many students, encampment is a cadet's first single night or multi-night away-from-home activity. This can be a stressful experience for some individuals who are not used to staying at an unfamiliar location for a week with a number of individuals they do not know. 

It is important that parents discuss these concerns with their cadet child to help answer any questions their child might have about what it might be like to be away from home for an extended period of time in an unfamiliar environment. This may also be a time to pay attention to self-care habits that cadets may not understand or have not personally experienced—such as doing their own laundry, planning their personal medications for the week, taking out trash; things that may often be taken for granted at home. 

By the end of encampment, cadets will hopefully have developed a greater sense of personal responsibility and are a little bit more enabled to care for themselves in some ways when it comes to longer trips away from home. 

Thus, it is often a requirement for National Cadet Special Activities that cadet applicants have completed their student encampment before being eligible to apply for the NCSA. This is to ensure that cadets are more comfortable with being away from home when facing greater academic challenges associated with national-level cadet training academies. 

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