By C/Maj Meghan Parsons
Marana, Ariz.- 70 Arizona Cadets, 1 New Mexico Cadet and 1 California Cadet participated in the Arizona Wing Summer Encampment held at Pinal Airfield in Marana Arizona.
Encampment is an annual event that focuses on providing cadets training in all areas of the CAP Cadet Program. Goals include applying leadership skills in a practical setting, developing a sense of teamwork and self-discipline and learning how to overcome challenges and succeed.
Encampment is all about training, both the cadets within the flights, known as students and the cadets who are serving as their leaders, the Cadet Cadre. "Most of my interaction is with the Cadet Cadre," Captain Jared Hoff, the Encampment's Commandant of Cadets explained in a video interview. "The purpose of Encampment is to allow for a leadership laboratory for our Cadre. They've read a lot about leadership, and now they get to put it into action. They can do this at the Squadron, but here at Encampment, it's amplified considerably." Said C/2d Lt Sarah DeWeese, Echo Flight Commander."It was great! I am so glad I was able to go and meet new people and find new friends." It wasn't just fun and games serving on Encampment Staff. It required the support and dedication of those who worked behind the scenes to support the Cadet Line Staff to support cadet training activities. "We worked as a team, and not as individuals, this helped us get things done faster, and more effectively." explained C/2d Lt Steven Fulmer, who served as an Administrative Cadet.
The students participated in a variety of activities from Rocket Launches to water survival to Blackhawk simulators, the cadets were kept very busy during the week. "At encampment they keep you very busy with tons of activities for you to do, but my favorite activities were the team building exercises because it was part of becoming a flight." C/CMSgt Emilee Mandile, a member of Bravo Flight explained.
"Encampment is a very rewarding experience." Captain Hoff explained. "For a lot of the cadet cadre this is their first time in a leadership position of this magnitude. And then the cadet students showing up really not having a clue what's going to happen for the next week. Then at the end of the week to see all of those cadets grow in their leadership skills and their confidence, their knowledge of CAP and their knowledge of aerospace. It is really rewarding to see the cadets excel the way that they do, especially here in Arizona Wing where we have some tremendous cadets of the highest caliber."
"We started with 72 last Saturday and graduated all 72." Lt. Col. Marilee Taylor commented in an email distributed to the Wing, congratulating and thanking the Senior Staff and Cadet Cadre. "Thank you for taking time out of your summer to show our cadets what fantastic cadet leaders we have in the Arizona Wing!" she continued.
Encampment has always been a difficult week. Cadets are pushed to their limits, and come out the other side changed for the better and armed with skills that they will use throughout their lives. Congratulations to the Encampment Graduates, Senior Members and Cadet Cadre. All contributed greatly to the Arizona Wing, and in the training of our next generation of Cadet Leaders.