Civil Air Patrol cadets from as far away as California began a week-long encampment Monday in Rapid City.
Each year the South Dakota and North Dakota Wings of CAP hold the joint encampment. The two Wings alternate hosting the event, which this year runs from July 6-14, with participants arriving over the weekend.
The South Dakota Army National Guard facilities at Camp Rapid in Rapid City are hosting the event.
Cadets from Missouri, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, California and Wyoming, as well as North Dakota and South Dakota, are taking part in the encampment.
The cadets ranging from age 12 through 20 are participating in a week of military-style basic training, staying in barracks and eating meals in a military dining facility.
Some of the activities planned include training in survival skills, an obstacle course, rappelling, marksmanship training, touring Ellsworth Air Force Base, a group problem solving course, and learning leadership skills.
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The cadets also learn military customs and courtesies and how to march in formation, and they take part in a variety of physical fitness activities.
“Encampment will test a cadet’s mind and body,” said encampment commander Lt Col. Nick Gengler. “It’s designed to be a challenge from start to finish. It’s also a lot of fun and an experience they will never forget.”
The South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, with squadrons in Sioux Falls, Brookings, Tea, Mitchell, Miller, Rapid City, Pierre, Custer and Spearfish has approximately 420 members, six light aircraft and 17 multi-purpose vehicles.
These assets are available to federal, state and county governments, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and counter-drug missions.
South Dakota Wing Commander Col. David Small said more than 80 people are part of making this year’s encampment a success. Cadets arrived last weekend for the week’s activities.
“They will experience a very busy, widely educational, and fun encampment,” Small said.