In preparing for our next quarterly newsletter, Major Jerry Jessick wrote a great article on Character Development and how Civil Air Patrol plays into our growing teens. I have been contemplating FCCS’ next blog post for awhile now and I don’t think there is a better post than his article!
Just for fun, open the Google window on your computer or handheld device and write principles of youth leadership development in the search box. Of course, people have put a lot of time into figuring out what it takes to teach our kids how to be good followers, and leaders, or both. No matter which article you open from the list of Google responses, I think you’ll agree that Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program is an excellent forum for connecting our kids to positive character-building experiences.
But the Civil Air Patrol cadet program is nothing more than words on paper, until it is put into action by parents, cadets, officers and volunteers like you and me. When our sons and daughters participate in Civil Air Patrol squadron meetings and other events, they experience things first-hand that are almost impossible to tell them about at the dinner table. But experience is just the first step.
Having experienced something challenging or fun or awesome, cadets are then able to share the experience by describing it to you (if you weren’t one of the senior member officers who was there). And while sharing their highly valuable experiences, our cadets make the experience part of themselves and their real-life character. This is character development!
Where else can your daughter or son find safety, structure, belonging, membership, self-worth, responsibility, self-awareness, social skill building, and meaningful roles that are all supported by proven core values (excellence, respect, integrity, & community service)? The character development value of our Civil Air Patrol programs is absolutely enormous. But it is also time sensitive; the opportunities do not last forever.
Let’s have a sense of urgency, and recognize the importance of character development within the Civil Air Patrol, by participating in all that we can. Time does not stand still. Our twelve year-olds will be eighteen-plus before we know it.
Pick one of those articles from the Google list, and read it. Every article seems to reinforce that when it comes to character development, participation in Civil Air Patrol is just as important as learning to read, write, and do your math homework; because, with strong character, you can be a winner at just about anything!”
-Maj. Jerry Jessick