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CAP turns teens into cadets through summer training camp

Abigail Murray, Civil Air Patrol cadet, answers another cadet’s question in a drill and ceremony test during the CAP’s 2015 European Summer Camp June 24, 2015, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Murray served as an NCO in charge during the test and led one of the two groups testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Abigail Murray, Civil Air Patrol cadet, answers another cadet’s question in a drill and ceremony test during the CAP’s 2015 European Summer Camp June 24, 2015, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Murray served as an NCO in charge during the test and led one of the two groups testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The Civil Air Patrol hosted its 2015 European Summer Camp at Ramstein High School, June 20 to 28, on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Children ages 12 to 18, from places such as Mildenhall Air Base, England, and Stuttgart, Germany, learned common military practices such as drill and ceremony, leadership, followership and aerospace studies.

According to 2nd Lt. Kevin Abington, Communications focal point officer in charge of the 1st Air & Space Communications Operations Squadron, it's about growing character.

"This training is an opportunity for CAP cadets to go through common military practices and grow as young adults," Abington said.

CAP is a volunteer organization that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. It performs three key missions: emergency services, which include search and rescue and disaster relief operations, aerospace education for youth and the general public and cadet programs for teenage youth.

The first few days of the camp tested the children's patience and character and according to Todd Parsons, CAP commandant of cadets, it was interesting working with them under those conditions.

"The motivations they have, once they go through the first formations, drill practices or even the physical training, it seems to inhabit a life of its own," Parsons said.

While cadets were training, the senior officers began noticing certain trainees becoming more active leaders amongst their peers and trying to help other cadets adjust.

"The biggest aspect of this program is that it is cadet-led," Parsons said. "They're the ones who help plan events and execute them. They figure out how to control the environment and impact others along the way."

The training camp was designed to develop cadets into disciplined and mature, young adults.