Cadets serve and educate at the Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest
At the three-day event, cadets operated an information booth from which they provided an introduction to aerospace training and Civil Air Patrol rescue services.
Cadets from the Hernando County Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol volunteered at the 2022 Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest. Held at Linda Pederson Park on Shoal Line Blvd, the annual event brings the community together with local entertainment, crafts and more.
At the three-day event, cadets operated an information booth from which they provided an introduction to aerospace training and Civil Air Patrol rescue services. In addition, cadets raised money for Wreaths Across America, a charity established to honor fallen veterans.
Cadets demonstrated the core value of Civil Air Police volunteer service and provided parking assistance to thousands of visitors who attended this popular community event.
“I was impressed with how the cadets behaved,” said senior member Kelly Fitzgerald. As the squadron’s recruiting officer, SM Fitzgerald oversaw the cadets who worked at the counseling center.
“We’ve had many fantastic conversations with veterans and with parents whose children are dying to join our youth program,” said SM Fitzgerald. “It’s so encouraging to see the community support for our cadet activities.”
SM Fitzgerald said the Hernando County Composite Squadron is currently teaching cadets cross-county navigation — a key skill for earning a pilot’s license — in addition to the normal command, character, physical fitness, emergency medical service and aerospace classes.
The Civil Air Patrol is open to cadets ages 12 and up. Adult members can join at any age. Meetings are Tuesday evenings from 7pm.
For more information on the Hernando County Composite Squadron and Civil Air Patrol, see fl301.cap.gov.
Established in 1941, the Civil Air Patrol is the official service organization of the US Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its support role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 Cessna single-engine aircraft and more than 2,100 small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and performs approximately 90% of US inland search and rescue missions on behalf of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Frequently utilizing innovative cell phone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP has been recognized by the AFRCC for saving 107 lives in fiscal 2020. CAP’s 56,000 members also conduct homeland security, disaster relief, and drug prohibition missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. As a non-profit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education by utilizing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education based on national academic standards. Members also serve as mentors to over 23,000 young people enrolled in CAP’s cadet programs. As one of America’s leading public service organizations, CAP benefits the nation with an estimated economic impact of $209 million annually
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