Cadets fly with Guard as part of annual Encampment

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STEAD, Nev. (KOLO) The Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol hosts a Cadet Encampment in Stead every year. It's a weeklong program aimed at youth ages twelve to twenty-one.

"It's a phenomenal program; it opens up all kinds of aerospace opportunities," said Major Billy Edwards of the Civil Air Patrol. "It focuses a lot on the STEM components, science, technology, engineering and math; and obviously there's a lot to do with airplanes. It's like a mini boot camp so there's a lot of yelling, a lot of bed-making and sock-rolling. Our goal is to teach them teamwork because it's going to be almost impossible to get through the week without working together."

Many of these cadets return year after year.

"My first time was five years ago, getting yelled at as a student," said Cadet Major Blaise Cohen, Executive Officer of the Nevada Training Corps. "Now I'm an Executive Officer one level below the Commander."

"This year I'm in charge of the entire cadre so my goal is to make sure the students graduate here with the best, most effective training possible," said Cadet Major Stephanie Lucia. Also, to make sure my cadre learns from their successes and their failures."

Cohen, who recently turned 18, already has his pilot's license. He's also heading to UNLV later this month on a scholarship from Air Force ROTC.

"They're picking up the tab for school which is awesome," Cohen said. "After that I want to go to Air Force Pilot Training and be an Air Force Pilot."

Lucia is also at UNLV with a scholarship through the Air Force.

"That's helping me on my way to become an intelligence officer," Lucia said. "I would also like to do OSI in the future and possibly later on, if that doesn't work, the FBI. I'd like to be a special agent."

The skills learned here at Stead are crucial to success in the service.

"I've had a lot of our cadets come back and say you know what - after our encampment, boot camp was a piece of cake," Edwards said.

And there are also aspects that will help these cadets succeed in all kinds of scenarios.

"Doing this has really given me leadership responsibilities," Cohen said. "Understanding how things work and how to work with other people, I think that's the biggest thing, especially in aviation."

"If you're into aerospace, if you're into leadership, if you're into search and rescue flying, you can create your own path in the Civilian Air Patrol that can help you whether you're going into the military or not," Lucia said.

Graduation ceremonies for the cadets are set for Sunday in front of the grandstands at the Reno-Stead airport.