News

 National News

Board of Governors Adds 2 -- Former Air Force Gen., Longtime N.Y. Wing Member
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:02:55 -0600

A recently retired U.S. Air Force general and a longtime Civil Air Patrol member have been selected to serve on CAP’s Board of Governors.

The secretary of the Air Force appointed Maj. Gen. Sandra (Sandy) Finan of Colbert, Washington, to join the board, effective immediately. She succeeds retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Leon Johnson, the president of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., who completed a six-year term on the board Oct. 26.

Lt. Col. Thomas S. Vreeland of CAP’s New York Wing was selected by the CAP Senior Advisory Group, replacing Col. Tim Verrett as an at-large member of the board. Verrett’s term ended Nov. 2.

“I thank Gen. Johnson and Col. Verrett for their leadership and look forward to the opportunity of working with Gen. Finan and Lt. Col. Vreeland,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander and CEO. “Both have vast professional experience that will contribute greatly to CAP’s growth and success.”

Finan’s extensive military background includes more than 30 years in the Air Force.

The general entered the Air National Guard in 1982 as an enlisted cryptographic equipment repairperson. She received her Air Force commission in 1985 as a distinguished graduate of Officer Training School.

Finan has served in a variety of space and nuclear assignments in missile crew operations, training and evaluations, satellite command and control, and satellite operations. She has held senior staff assignments as Air Force Global Strike Command inspector general and Air Force Space Command director of nuclear operations.

Her commands include a space operations squadron, a missile wing and a center. She deployed to the Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia as the director of Space Forces in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Previously, she was commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

Before her retirement earlier this year, Finan served as deputy chief information officer for command, control, communications and computers (C4) and information infrastructure capabilities (IIC) for the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, she provided expertise and broad guidance on policy, programmatic and technical issues relating to C4&IIC in order to achieve and maintain information dominance for the Department of Defense.

 

She also managed efforts defining Department of Defense policies and strategies for design, architecture, interoperability standards, capability development, and sustainment of critical C2 and communications for nuclear and non-nuclear strategic strike, and Defense and National Leadership Command capabilities.

Vreeland is a former senior executive in the federal government who has served as CEO of several technology companies and as a director, board member and philanthropist in educational nonprofit organizations. He is the director of the Vreeland Institute, a prize-winning international think tank.

His more than 25 years of CAP service — first as a cadet and later as a senior member — span 57 years and include achievement at the squadron, group and wing levels.

He was an early Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award recipient (No. 27) and Frank Borman Falcon Award recipient (No. 6), and later — as a senior member — received the Gill Robb Wilson Award with Silver Star (No. 2,644). He also served on the national commander’s staff as Advanced Technology Program officer in the operations directorate.

Other CAP awards include the President’s Volunteer Service Award-Silver Medal for extensive volunteer service in 2017 and the National Frank G. Brewer Memorial CAP Aerospace Education – Lifetime Achievement Award, which he also received in 2017.

Professional awards of note include the Computerworld Laureate, which Vreeland received in 2002. The national award is given to the top 100 computer professionals in the country and was presented in the category of educational technology. It honors those who use information technology to benefit society. He also received the “In the Arena” Award in 2003 from the Center for Digital Government, recognizing some of the most innovative, hard-working and trend-setting IT leaders in the nation.

Vreeland is a member of the New York Wing’s Westchester Cadet Squadron 1, which he founded in 1966. Most recently, he served as plans and programs officer for both the squadron and the wing before his appointment to the Board of Governors. He was also the wing’s director of information technology.

The Board of Governors consists of four Air Force appointees, three members appointed jointly by the secretary of the Air Force and CAP’s national commander, and four members-at-large selected by the CAP Senior Advisory Group (CSAG). CAP’s national commander, national vice commander, executive officer and eight region commanders serve as voting members on the CSAG. The CAP inspector general, command chief, chief operating officer and CAP- U.S. Air Force (CAP-USAF) commander are nonvoting members of the CSAG.

The 11-member BoG generates strategic policies, plans and programs designed to guide and support the volunteer service of the organization’s 52 wings. CAP’s national commander and chief executive officer, the organization’s chief operating officer and the CAP-USAF commander serve as advisers to the BoG.

Aviation Vocation
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 08:20:21 -0600

Sheila Pursglove
Contributing Writer

Fascinated with aviation in boyhood, Brad Lynn built every model airplane he could lay his hands on and dreamed of taking to the skies. He went on to become a Civil Air Patrol cadet, then served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, became a civilian airline captain and served as a wing commander and region vice commander in CAP before joining CAP’s Board of Governors this year.

“I was bitten by the flying bug early in life and have enjoyed it ever since,” said Lynn. “Civil Air Patrol opened the aviation door (for me), and I’ve been fortunate to serve my country through aviation and have continued a wonderful aviation career as a captain for United Airlines.”

An Eagle Scout, Lynn joined the Alabama Wing’s Tuscaloosa Composite Squadron in 1969. “After talking to friends that were in the squadron, I knew the Civil Air Patrol was an organization I definitely wanted to join,” he recalled.

He vividly remembers his first summer wing encampment, marching around Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama – site of Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters – and learning about the Air Force while taking pride in being a member of his flight.

“At the end of the week, I received a ride in a T-33 Air Force jet — after that, I knew that was what I wanted to do,” Lynn said.

 

In 1973 he earned the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award — CAP’s highest cadet honor, earned by less than one-half of 1 percent of all cadets — and was named National Cadet of the Year.

Leadership training and experience in the cadet program have helped many with careers in industry and in the military, he noted. “The leadership training is absolutely outstanding,” Lynn said. “If cadets apply themselves, by the time they are 18 they have done extensive public speaking, conducted many staff meetings, organized complex activities and events and have had the opportunity to lead many large groups of people toward a common goal.”

The University of Alabama graduate was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, beginning active duty in 1977. A distinguished graduate from Squadron Officer School, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. He served on active duty until October 1986, primarily as a KC-135 aircraft commander, and he did a tour at the Pentagon in the Air Staff Training Assignment.

In 1986 he transferred to the Air Force Reserve’s 908th Airlift Wing, holding numerous command and staff positions and serving as vice wing commander from May 1999 until transferring to the Pentagon in 2002. He served a tour in Reserve Operations at the Pentagon and deployed as an air expeditionary commander in the Afghanistan theater in 2004. In 2005 he became mobilization assistant to the director, Plans and Programs, Air Force Material Command.

Lynn retired from the Air Force in 2007 as a colonel with 30 years of military service. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and numerous campaign and service medals.

 

Rejoining Civil Air Patrol’s Alabama Wing that year, he ultimately served as deputy director of cadet programs, director of logistics and readiness, wing vice commander and wing commander. His leadership team re-established an outstanding glider program, earned a “Highly Successful” rating in a compliance inspection and an "Outstanding” rating on the Air Force Operations Evaluation.

Serving as wing commander was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of his life, Lynn said. “I really enjoyed watching our senior members and cadets excel at every task that was placed before them. The Alabama Wing, like every other wing, has professional volunteers that are truly America’s finest.”

In 2010 he spent several days providing aerial photography in support of Operation Deepwater Horizon after the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. And in September 2014 the wing took part in a search and rescue mission for a missing aircraft near Abbeville, Alabama, where Lynn also served as a flight observer on several sorties with the Mobile and Tuscaloosa composite squadrons. The wing conducted a weeklong search in coordination with local sheriffs and the state Emergency Management Agency. The aircraft was found in the Chattahoochee River with two fatalities.

A recipient of CAP’s Distinguished Service Award, Lynn has served as commandant of cadets for Cadet Officer School and escort officer for the International Air Cadet Exchange.

“Mentoring cadets is one of the most important things senior members do,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to talk to cadets about a career in the Air Force or aviation. I enjoy doing this because they are sincere in seeking advice. I’m proud to pass on anything that could help them with their future.”

He has also served as an instructor and seminar leader at the Southeast Region and national staff colleges.

“Most of our volunteers have to take their annual vacation to attend these courses,” Lynn said. “Both are vital to developing future leaders. Being a member of staff allows me to give back and make a contribution to CAP’s future.”

After serving as vice commander for the Southeast Region, Lynn joined the Board of Governors in May. “I enjoy being able to contribute to Civil Air Patrol at this level, so that I can give back to the organization that has done so much for me,” he said.

A captain with United Airlines, Lynn also has served as a pilot instructor and check airman. He holds type ratings in the Boeing 707, 747-400, 757, 767 and 777 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and has accumulated over 20,000 flight hours. His routes mostly take him to and from Europe and South America and this summer to Alaska.

“I enjoy being able to see the world and enjoy the great destinations,” he said.

Col. William Bass was Lynn’s vice commander for Alabama Wing. “Brad Lynn is the epitome of a successful career in aviation, the military, CAP or any other by any measure,” Bass said. “He is a visionary seeking the best outcomes of plans and programs while motivating people to achieve them.

While he seeks input from his team and prefers a consensus if possible, he has, and is, fully capable of making tough decisions required of successful leaders. “One quickly recognizes leadership. Brad is in that rare small group of ‘the best of the best.’"


 

To support Civil Air Patrol cadets and their academic and flight goals, consider donating to Cadet Scholarships. 

If you are interested in setting up a designated CAP cadet scholarship in your state or region, contact CAP's Development Office. 

 Wing News

Board of Governors Adds 2 -- Former Air Force Gen., Longtime N.Y. Wing Member
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:02:55 -0600

A recently retired U.S. Air Force general and a longtime Civil Air Patrol member have been selected to serve on CAP’s Board of Governors.

The secretary of the Air Force appointed Maj. Gen. Sandra (Sandy) Finan of Colbert, Washington, to join the board, effective immediately. She succeeds retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Leon Johnson, the president of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., who completed a six-year term on the board Oct. 26.

Lt. Col. Thomas S. Vreeland of CAP’s New York Wing was selected by the CAP Senior Advisory Group, replacing Col. Tim Verrett as an at-large member of the board. Verrett’s term ended Nov. 2.

“I thank Gen. Johnson and Col. Verrett for their leadership and look forward to the opportunity of working with Gen. Finan and Lt. Col. Vreeland,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander and CEO. “Both have vast professional experience that will contribute greatly to CAP’s growth and success.”

Finan’s extensive military background includes more than 30 years in the Air Force.

The general entered the Air National Guard in 1982 as an enlisted cryptographic equipment repairperson. She received her Air Force commission in 1985 as a distinguished graduate of Officer Training School.

Finan has served in a variety of space and nuclear assignments in missile crew operations, training and evaluations, satellite command and control, and satellite operations. She has held senior staff assignments as Air Force Global Strike Command inspector general and Air Force Space Command director of nuclear operations.

Her commands include a space operations squadron, a missile wing and a center. She deployed to the Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia as the director of Space Forces in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Previously, she was commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

Before her retirement earlier this year, Finan served as deputy chief information officer for command, control, communications and computers (C4) and information infrastructure capabilities (IIC) for the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, she provided expertise and broad guidance on policy, programmatic and technical issues relating to C4&IIC in order to achieve and maintain information dominance for the Department of Defense.

 

She also managed efforts defining Department of Defense policies and strategies for design, architecture, interoperability standards, capability development, and sustainment of critical C2 and communications for nuclear and non-nuclear strategic strike, and Defense and National Leadership Command capabilities.

Vreeland is a former senior executive in the federal government who has served as CEO of several technology companies and as a director, board member and philanthropist in educational nonprofit organizations. He is the director of the Vreeland Institute, a prize-winning international think tank.

His more than 25 years of CAP service — first as a cadet and later as a senior member — span 57 years and include achievement at the squadron, group and wing levels.

He was an early Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award recipient (No. 27) and Frank Borman Falcon Award recipient (No. 6), and later — as a senior member — received the Gill Robb Wilson Award with Silver Star (No. 2,644). He also served on the national commander’s staff as Advanced Technology Program officer in the operations directorate.

Other CAP awards include the President’s Volunteer Service Award-Silver Medal for extensive volunteer service in 2017 and the National Frank G. Brewer Memorial CAP Aerospace Education – Lifetime Achievement Award, which he also received in 2017.

Professional awards of note include the Computerworld Laureate, which Vreeland received in 2002. The national award is given to the top 100 computer professionals in the country and was presented in the category of educational technology. It honors those who use information technology to benefit society. He also received the “In the Arena” Award in 2003 from the Center for Digital Government, recognizing some of the most innovative, hard-working and trend-setting IT leaders in the nation.

Vreeland is a member of the New York Wing’s Westchester Cadet Squadron 1, which he founded in 1966. Most recently, he served as plans and programs officer for both the squadron and the wing before his appointment to the Board of Governors. He was also the wing’s director of information technology.

The Board of Governors consists of four Air Force appointees, three members appointed jointly by the secretary of the Air Force and CAP’s national commander, and four members-at-large selected by the CAP Senior Advisory Group (CSAG). CAP’s national commander, national vice commander, executive officer and eight region commanders serve as voting members on the CSAG. The CAP inspector general, command chief, chief operating officer and CAP- U.S. Air Force (CAP-USAF) commander are nonvoting members of the CSAG.

The 11-member BoG generates strategic policies, plans and programs designed to guide and support the volunteer service of the organization’s 52 wings. CAP’s national commander and chief executive officer, the organization’s chief operating officer and the CAP-USAF commander serve as advisers to the BoG.

Aviation Vocation
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 08:20:21 -0600

Sheila Pursglove
Contributing Writer

Fascinated with aviation in boyhood, Brad Lynn built every model airplane he could lay his hands on and dreamed of taking to the skies. He went on to become a Civil Air Patrol cadet, then served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, became a civilian airline captain and served as a wing commander and region vice commander in CAP before joining CAP’s Board of Governors this year.

“I was bitten by the flying bug early in life and have enjoyed it ever since,” said Lynn. “Civil Air Patrol opened the aviation door (for me), and I’ve been fortunate to serve my country through aviation and have continued a wonderful aviation career as a captain for United Airlines.”

An Eagle Scout, Lynn joined the Alabama Wing’s Tuscaloosa Composite Squadron in 1969. “After talking to friends that were in the squadron, I knew the Civil Air Patrol was an organization I definitely wanted to join,” he recalled.

He vividly remembers his first summer wing encampment, marching around Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama – site of Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters – and learning about the Air Force while taking pride in being a member of his flight.

“At the end of the week, I received a ride in a T-33 Air Force jet — after that, I knew that was what I wanted to do,” Lynn said.

 

In 1973 he earned the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award — CAP’s highest cadet honor, earned by less than one-half of 1 percent of all cadets — and was named National Cadet of the Year.

Leadership training and experience in the cadet program have helped many with careers in industry and in the military, he noted. “The leadership training is absolutely outstanding,” Lynn said. “If cadets apply themselves, by the time they are 18 they have done extensive public speaking, conducted many staff meetings, organized complex activities and events and have had the opportunity to lead many large groups of people toward a common goal.”

The University of Alabama graduate was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, beginning active duty in 1977. A distinguished graduate from Squadron Officer School, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. He served on active duty until October 1986, primarily as a KC-135 aircraft commander, and he did a tour at the Pentagon in the Air Staff Training Assignment.

In 1986 he transferred to the Air Force Reserve’s 908th Airlift Wing, holding numerous command and staff positions and serving as vice wing commander from May 1999 until transferring to the Pentagon in 2002. He served a tour in Reserve Operations at the Pentagon and deployed as an air expeditionary commander in the Afghanistan theater in 2004. In 2005 he became mobilization assistant to the director, Plans and Programs, Air Force Material Command.

Lynn retired from the Air Force in 2007 as a colonel with 30 years of military service. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and numerous campaign and service medals.

 

Rejoining Civil Air Patrol’s Alabama Wing that year, he ultimately served as deputy director of cadet programs, director of logistics and readiness, wing vice commander and wing commander. His leadership team re-established an outstanding glider program, earned a “Highly Successful” rating in a compliance inspection and an "Outstanding” rating on the Air Force Operations Evaluation.

Serving as wing commander was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of his life, Lynn said. “I really enjoyed watching our senior members and cadets excel at every task that was placed before them. The Alabama Wing, like every other wing, has professional volunteers that are truly America’s finest.”

In 2010 he spent several days providing aerial photography in support of Operation Deepwater Horizon after the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. And in September 2014 the wing took part in a search and rescue mission for a missing aircraft near Abbeville, Alabama, where Lynn also served as a flight observer on several sorties with the Mobile and Tuscaloosa composite squadrons. The wing conducted a weeklong search in coordination with local sheriffs and the state Emergency Management Agency. The aircraft was found in the Chattahoochee River with two fatalities.

A recipient of CAP’s Distinguished Service Award, Lynn has served as commandant of cadets for Cadet Officer School and escort officer for the International Air Cadet Exchange.

“Mentoring cadets is one of the most important things senior members do,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to talk to cadets about a career in the Air Force or aviation. I enjoy doing this because they are sincere in seeking advice. I’m proud to pass on anything that could help them with their future.”

He has also served as an instructor and seminar leader at the Southeast Region and national staff colleges.

“Most of our volunteers have to take their annual vacation to attend these courses,” Lynn said. “Both are vital to developing future leaders. Being a member of staff allows me to give back and make a contribution to CAP’s future.”

After serving as vice commander for the Southeast Region, Lynn joined the Board of Governors in May. “I enjoy being able to contribute to Civil Air Patrol at this level, so that I can give back to the organization that has done so much for me,” he said.

A captain with United Airlines, Lynn also has served as a pilot instructor and check airman. He holds type ratings in the Boeing 707, 747-400, 757, 767 and 777 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and has accumulated over 20,000 flight hours. His routes mostly take him to and from Europe and South America and this summer to Alaska.

“I enjoy being able to see the world and enjoy the great destinations,” he said.

Col. William Bass was Lynn’s vice commander for Alabama Wing. “Brad Lynn is the epitome of a successful career in aviation, the military, CAP or any other by any measure,” Bass said. “He is a visionary seeking the best outcomes of plans and programs while motivating people to achieve them.

While he seeks input from his team and prefers a consensus if possible, he has, and is, fully capable of making tough decisions required of successful leaders. “One quickly recognizes leadership. Brad is in that rare small group of ‘the best of the best.’"


 

To support Civil Air Patrol cadets and their academic and flight goals, consider donating to Cadet Scholarships. 

If you are interested in setting up a designated CAP cadet scholarship in your state or region, contact CAP's Development Office. 

Commanders Head to Natl. HQ for Leadership Training
Sat, 11 Nov 2017 07:00:00 -0600

Eighteen commanders from across Civil Air Patrol will hone their leadership skills next week in the Wing Commanders College at CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Participants in the intense, graduate-level course, which begins Sunday and runs through Thursday, include a region commander, a region vice commander and 16 wing commanders. They were selected for the course by their region commander and had to be approved by Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander.

The program focuses on three main blocks of study: leading the organization, wing commander responsibilities and focus lessons. The curriculum features seminars, lectures and hands-on exercises in 20 sessions on such topics as leadership, accountability, expectations of commanders, legislative affairs, media relations and branding, safety, ethics, legal matters, finances and resources.

By the course’s end, participants will have a better understanding of how to select and develop subordinate unit commanders as well as how to manage CAP’s emergency services, aerospace education, cadet, information technology, public affairs, membership development and logistics programs.

For the third straight year, Col. Jon Stokes, commander of CAP’s Pacific Region, is course director.

Course highlights will include Smith’s presentation Tuesday on “Ethics and the Commander” and Col. Brad Lynn’s presentation Wednesday on “Servant Leadership.” Lynn, former Southeast Region vice commander and Alabama Wing commander, is a member of CAP’s Board of Governors.

Also scheduled are presentations by Air Force Col. Michael Tyynismaa, CAP-USAF commander; John Salvador, CAP chief operating officer; and numerous directors, assistant directors and subject-matter experts at National Headquarters.

The 2017 participants:







Pacific Region

  • Col. Carl Morrison, vice commander

 

 

 


Southwest Region

  • Col. Joe R. Smith, commander

 

 

 


Alaska Wing

  • Col. Carl Brown, commander

 

 

 


Connecticut Wing

  • Col. James Ridley, commander

 

 

 



Kentucky Wing

  • Col. Darrel Williamson, commander

 

 

 


Massachusetts Wing

  • Col. John Flaherty, commander

 

 

 


Mississippi Wing

  • Col. Hank Rogers, commander

 

 

 


Montana Wing

  • Col. Mitch Edwards, commander


 

 

 


National Capital Wing

  • Col. JD Ellis, commander

 

 

 


New Jersey Wing

  • Col. Joe H. Abegg Sr., commander

 

 

 


New York Wing

  • Col. Thomas Carello, commander

 

 

 


Ohio Wing

  • Col. David Jennison, commander

 

 

 



Oklahoma Wing

  • Col. David Roberts Jr., commander

 

 

 


South Carolina Wing

  • Col. Lee Safley, commander

 

 

 



Tennessee Wing

  • Col. Dent Young, commander

 

 

 


Utah Wing

  • Col. Michael Fernandez, commander

 

 

 



Virginia Wing

  • Col. Dean Gould, commander

 

 

 

 


Wyoming Wing

  • Col. Jeffrey Johnson, commander

 

CAP-Provided Kits Spur Student Interest in STEM Subjects
Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:48:10 -0600

Vicky Travis
Contributing Writer

Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace education team helps teachers and CAP squadron leaders reach a new generation of STEM learners, piquing interest in science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on, fun activities and curriculum.

The team’s STEM Kit program, launched in 2013 with funding from the Air Force STEM Outreach Office, unveiled five new kits recently as part of CAP’s 75th anniversary cadet program celebration. That gives teachers and CAP aerospace education officers 15 kits to choose from to help students find and develop passions in aerospace, aviation, rocketry, robotics and more. Aerospace education officers apply for kits and present the material to cadets.

The AE team developed the new kits with all ages in mind: Bee Bots, Sphero, Middle School Math, Renewable Energy and Snaptricity.

A growing number of jobs in STEM fields will need qualified candidates to fill them. By 2024 jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow by 8.9 percent, according to a March report by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“The Air Force wants STEM materials in the hands of young people in America to introduce a variety of potential STEM careers,” said Sue Mercer, an educator on the aerospace education team.

“This is an invaluable resource for teachers,” said CAP Capt. Spencer Kiper, a middle school STEM teacher in Shreveport, Louisiana. “It gives them the curriculum and tells them how to use it. Twenty-first century teachers need this current, cutting-edge stuff.”

As aerospace education members, teachers may choose a kit, use it for six hours and submit an evaluation.

Kiper and Alex Hill, an aerospace education member from Montrose, Missouri, developed the curriculum for one of the new kits, Sphero, which helps motivate students to try coding and programming. He and Hill came up with the curriculum while serving as educator crew trainers at the Space Camp for Educators in Huntsville, Alabama.

Kiper said his students loved the flight simulator STEM Kit, which includes software that comes with a yoke, throttle and pedal set. This school year, Kiper saw the classroom experience come full circle. One of his students at Elm Grove Middle School, a stone’s throw from Barksdale Air Force Base, received his first orientation flight from Civil Air Patrol.

“He came back so excited,” Kiper said. “I have the best job.”

CAP Capt. Brian Johnston, a fifth-grade teacher in Buford, Georgia, was instrumental in getting all of his colleagues at Friendship Elementary School signed up as CAP aerospace education members.

“I’ve always been more into hands-on technology and have tried to push the kids to think outside the box,” said Johnston, now in his 25th year of teaching. His principal bought into the idea and paid the memberships for all teachers, who weren’t all on board — at first.

His favorite response came from a teacher who saw it as just something else they have to do. But after implementing it, she was sold. “It was awesome. Her students are even better behaved and they all really enjoy it,” Johnston said. “Now, they do it every Friday.”

His favorite is the rocketry kit, he said. “I like to see the rockets explode off the launch pad,” he laughed. He builds up to using the kit with chemical-change lessons that he teaches small-scale using Alka-Seltzer and 35mm canisters. Then each child builds his or her own rocket and blasts it off.

Johnson has seen indifference turn into thrills. Using the robotics kit, two girls built the robotic arm and programmed it to paint letters of the alphabet, a project that would go on to take second place in a county competition.

“They weren’t looking into STEM originally,” he said. “But their whole idea was great, and they had to do a lot of problem-solving. There was a lot more to it than just the programming.”

His favorite response came from a teacher who saw it as just something else they have to do. But after implementing it, she was sold. “It was awesome. Her students are even better behaved and they all really enjoy it,” Johnston said. “Now, they do it every Friday.”

His favorite is the rocketry kit, he said. “I like to see the rockets explode off the launch pad,” he laughed. He builds up to using the kit with chemical-change lessons that he teaches small-scale using Alka-Seltzer and 35mm canisters. Then each child builds his or her own rocket and blasts it off.

Johnson has seen indifference turn into thrills. Using the robotics kit, two girls built the robotic arm and programmed it to paint letters of the alphabet, a project that would go on to take second place in a county competition.

“They weren’t looking into STEM originally,” he said. “But their whole idea was great, and they had to do a lot of problem-solving. There was a lot more to it than just the programming.”

Teachers often learn about the CAP STEM Kit opportunity through word of mouth. Since it started, the program has sent out more than 5,000 kits to educators, reaching more than 250,000 students nationwide and also benefiting CAP’s more than 24,000 cadets. More than 80 percent of youth exposed to the kits indicate a stronger desire to pursue aerospace/STEM careers.

Even very young learners benefit from the kits.

“The earlier the better to start using these tools with the very young,” said Dr. Rossana Chiarella, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Hialeah, Florida. “These activities remain in their minds throughout their entire school life.”

Chiarella, who has been teaching since 1992, also leads a STEM club for second- through fifth-graders at her school, where she’s used the rocketry kit for three years. The students blast the projectiles off at a local park with the help of a CAP team.

“We would love these kits to reach every kid in America,” Mercer said. “Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, home-school groups, schools, libraries are encouraged to use them.”

 

5 New STEM Kits Now Available

The new STEM Kits are Bee Bots, Sphero, Middle School Math, Renewable Energy and Snaptricity.

  • Bee Bots, for age 4 and older, teaches sequencing, coding and problem-solving to be used in a variety of subjects.
     
  • Sphero, for grade 4 and older, can paint, swim or dance and teaches coding and programming.
     
  • Middle School Math, for grade 4 and older, includes 1,000 parts that students use to build 2D and 3D models to learn math and geometry concepts.
     
  • Renewable Energy, for grade 5 and older, teaches solar, hydro and wind energy by constructing working models out of 583 parts.
     
  • Snaptricity, for middle school and older, teaches how electricity and magnetism can be used to generate each other with 75 different projects to choose from.

Already-available kits are Astronomy, Flight Simulator, Model and Remote-Control Aircraft, Robotics, Rocketry, Quadcopter, Weather Station, Hydraulic Engineering, Raspberry Pi and Ready-to-Fly Quadcopter.

More information can be obtained via email or online.