|Florida Wing Summer Encampment - Barracks Life|
One of the many challenges a cadet must face when arriving at encampment is barracks life. For most, it is the first time they will share a large living area with many others.
Unlike “dorm” life where you may share a room and bath with one to three people, these are typical military training barracks much like boot camp, where up to 35 cadets share the space. The area is made up of individual single height beds and a large shower and facilities area.
One of the first lessons shared, cadets are instructed how to make their bed to CAP standards. For many cadets this is a very new experience – making their bed every day! Cadets are also instructed in personal hygiene expectations as well care and storage of their equipment, uniforms and gear. Fire drills and other safety events are practiced to ensure cadet safety.
It’s not a five-star accommodation but they have plenty of hot water and it’s safe, dry and air-conditioned. It must be fairly nice as dozens of cadets come back every year. Most cadets confirm encampment is the highlight of their cadet experience.
|Florida Wing Summer Encampment Begins|
Arrival day at Summer Encampment greeted arriving cadets and parents with warm temperatures and an enthusiastic staff.One hundred and forty-four first time cadets disembarked at Camp Blanding’s main gate with gear in-hand to begin their week at encampment.
Encampment deputy director 1st Lt Jack Duich and a cadet cadre greeted the new arrivals. Duich met the parents and said “we are grateful that parents have entrusted the Encampment Staff with their young cadets. We strive to provide a safe and enriching experience for each cadet.” He also informed parents about the many exciting and challenging opportunities scheduled for the following week like glider flights.
A common question Duich answered concerned parents attending the graduation ceremony. He informed them that the guest registration information would be sent out a few days before the ceremony.
The cadets went through the multi-step process for entering encampment. First, their application paperwork was inspected for accuracy and completeness. Then each cadet’s possessions were reviewed against the packing list. CAP vans were on hand to transport cadets from the gate area to begin their encampment experience.
Each full van arrived at the dining facility where the student cadets were greeted by the awaiting highly motivated cadet staff. The incoming cadets unloaded their gear and were assigned to a barracks. They were swiftly directed inside to get their photo taken to be placed on Facebook. Cadets quickly rejoined their squad and proceeded to their barracks to stow personal gear and meet soon to be new friends.
The first day ended with a welcome assembly held at the nearby amphitheater. Encampment Commander Lt Colonel Luis Negron opened the ceremony with a personal greeting to all 249 encampment attendees. He introduced the command team and cadet staff members. He encouraged everyone to live CAP core values. Negron said “We have a lot of fun lined up and by the end of the week the cadets will not want to leave.”
One hundred and five senior members and cadets arrived several days earlier from around Florida for in-service training to prepare for the Florida Wing Summer Encampment 2018.
|Cool Relief for the Hot Summer|
Imagine being a cadet during the hot Florida summer months, doing strenuous physical training and then sitting in the heat through lectures on subjects like “Heat Exhaustion”! This has been the case for the past decade the Boca Raton Composite Squadron. Civil Air Patrol members have been meeting in an unfinished hangar space without air conditioning making conditions brutal in the heat of summer.
"Inside temperatures would routinely soar over 120 degrees not only making training almost impossible but also damaging sensitive computer and search and rescue equipment," said Lt Col Michael Harding, Squadron Commander. "We only had two floor fans that would simply blow the hot air around, and couldn’t afford to install air conditioning. We were actually in talks about shutting down our squadron during the summer months due to safety issues with the heat. This would have left our cadets without a training facility and our community without a mission base during the busy hurricane season."
To great relief, in stepped local business owner, Nick Sansone, from Sansone Air-Conditioning in West Palm Beach who offered to install a brand new 3-ton compressor, air handler, thermostat, and duct work free of charge. Mr. Sansone and his team install the neew equipment in one day, converting the oven to a meat locker!
"Our unit is now able to function year round in a safe comfortable environment," said Harding.
On Tuesday June 5 our Civil Air Patrol Boca Raton Composite Squadron honored Mr. Nick Sansone of Sansone Air Conditioning for his generous donation.
Boca Raton Squadron Commander Lt Col Michael T Harding and Mr. Nick Sansone from Sansone Air Conditioning.
Boca Raton cadets participating in the CAP Cadet Program.
|Lee County Squadron holds End of School Year Banquet|
The friends, family and honored guests of members from the Lee County Schools Cadet Squadron were treated to a year-end potluck dinner to celebrate the challenging work and fun exploration that is a part of life as a Civil Air Patrol cadet.
The banquet was held on May 17, 2018 in the media center of Gulf Middle School to highlight the success of a year of academic study, discussions about moral character, physical fitness training, drill pad exercises and field training -- including search and rescue and bivouac skill development.
The Lawrence Kearny Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution was represented at the event by Dinah Osborne, Vice Reagent, and Anne McGuire, Regent. presented the Distinguished Citizen Medal to Lt Col Jim Spieth and Major Nancy Spieth for their years of dedicated effort work to support the squadron, school, community and most importantly, the youth of Lee County.
A record number of promotions and awards presented at this year’s banquet.
Promotions recognized at the dinner were:
Volunteer service is one of CAP’s four core values. In addition to their focus on advancement through the program, the cadets support in local community events. This year’s activities included Aviation Day at Page Field, local Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies and other events where the squadron honor guard provided color guard services.
On May 23rd, the color guard presented the colors for Military Appreciation Diner for Araba Shrine in Fort Myers. The cadets served the Nobles and Ladies a BBQ dinner. The Shriners provided tips to assist in the cadets attending Summer Encampment. On Memorial Day the color guard presented colors at the Cape Coral Military Museum in Cape Coral. The final color guard event was for the Gulf Middle School 8th Grade Awards Ceremony held at Ida Baker High School, in Cape Coral.
The Lee County Schools Cadet Squadron is one of two school-sponsored squadrons in southwest Florida.
V.I.P. guests included Lt Col Jim Spieth, Commander, FL 816; Lt Col Jim Kaletta, Commander, Group 5 Headquarters; C/Lt Col Mekhela Hicks, Chairperson, Cadet Advisory Council. Also, in attendance, the parents and friends “who lend us their loved ones for two hours, once a week during the school year”. The chicken and ribs for the banquet were donated by Lt Col. Roger Borg, CAP. The parents of cadets provided side dishes.
“I am really proud of these cadets,” said former commander, Major Nancy Spieth. “Congratulations to everyone! These promotions and awards are well deserved.”
|Award Ceremony Brings The School Year To A Close|
Venice’s school squadron, Student Leadership Academy, presented its end of year awards with acknowledgement and appreciation for the dedicated Civil Air Patrol cadets, senior members and aerospace education members at the Student Leadership Academy middle school.
The award ceremony began with the last promotions of the school year, recognizing adet Airman 1st Class Sanchez, Cadet Airman Smith and Cadet Airman Staniszewski. The squadron presented certificates of appreciation to its color guard, and 8th graders who had participated in the Civil Air Patrol class all three years of their middle school career. Emergency Services awards were presented to Cadet Senior Airman Hays, Cadet Master Sgt. Cruz and Cadet Master Sgt. Merlino for obtaining emergency services qualifications above and beyond their fellow cadets.
Among the most prestigious award recipients were Cadet Airman 1st Class Allis, Cadet Master Sgt. Merlino, and Squadron Commander Captain Kirsten. Exhibiting his commitment to the core value of community service, Cadet Airman 1st Class Allis received the CAP Community Service and three devices. His award represents selfless service in the excess of 200 community services hours. Cadet Master Sgt. Tori Merlino received the Air Force Association award for excellence for her extensive dedication to aerospace education and military training. For the squadron commander’s nine-year leadership at the school squadron, commendable teaching of aerospace education and military excellence, Capt. Madeline Kirsten was presented with two southeast region awards; Aerospace Education Teacher of the year and Aerospace Education member of the year.
The final awards were certificates of appreciation to the two teacher members of the school squadron; Aerospace Education members, Jenna Hawks and Tessa Healy, who selflessly promoted aerospace education instruction, encouragement, and support whenever called upon by the squadron.
Deputy Commander, Lt. Bouchane noted that “the cadets who choose to participate in our Civil Air Patrol school squadron are a different type of students; the type of students who defy the common perception and actions of ordinary youth.” The Civil Air Patrol school squadron is a demanding and engaging unit that challenges young students to find greatness at a young age.
C/MSgt Tori Merlino. was the recipient of the Air Force Association Award for Excellence. (photo credit: Capt. M. Kirsten)
C/MSgt Merlino, C/SrA Hays and C/MSgt Cruz received certificates for their dedication to one of CAP's primary missions, Emergency Services. (photo credit: Capt. M. Kirsten)
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