News: Leadership drives Civil Air Patrol youth to success
Story by 1st Lt. Christian Venhuizen
CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. – It can be argued that an American 13-year-old has at least a fundamental understanding of the logistics that go into making a bed.
It’s a matter of thinking about how many sheets, blankets, pillows, and pillow cases are needed; where to get said sheets and blankets; maybe even a laundry schedule to get those materials cleaned.
For 13-year-old Nicholas Timpe, of Lafayette, Colo., getting the bedding for one person is cake. He’s responsible for providing bedding to 73 of his fellow teenagers during the Wyoming Wing Civil Air Patrol Encampment, at the Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center.
“Just the whole encampment experience has taught me to be more selfless with the cadets,” said Timpe.
An encampment is a combination basic training program and summer camp, run by senior cadets, supervised by adult CAP members and an Air Force liaison. Military courtesies, drill and ceremony and skills, like reading a map and using a compass, are focused on.
This is Timpe’s second encampment, his first on staff as a logistics non-commissioned officer.
His age is what makes duties so remarkable, said Maj. Ezekiel House, the cadet commander for the encampment. Timpe’s rank, master sergeant, is also unusual for someone of his age, considering 12 is the minimum age requirement for the CAP Cadet Program.
“It builds self-confidence and when you’re leading, it shows others are following and when they show they learned stuff from you, it kind of means you made a change in their life,” said Timpe.
There are other cadets who are also finding their stride.
Chief Master Sgt. Caleb Dixon, 17, of Nampa, Idaho, is nearing a promotion as he earns the Billy Mitchell Award. The award promotes him into the ranks of the officers, which includes more opportunities for leadership and increases in privileges.
Dixon’s efforts at the encampment put him close to his goals of becoming an officer, he said. He was the first cadet at the encampment to finish reading and memorizing the cadets’ book of standard operating procedures and quotations. The book includes everything a cadet needs to know, from the phonetic alphabet to reporting procedures, even inspirational quotations from presidents.
“The concepts discussed in there are important and you can apply a lot of these concepts to real life,” said Dixon.
As an Air Force Auxiliary, CAP may assist with search and rescue missions. Cadets may assist ground efforts during searches, bringing those skills into play.
“I do feel inspired,” Dixon said. “I am very proud to be a part of this country and I plan to join the military to help save and protect this country.”
Dixon said he entered CAP two years ago and decided this would be a good year to attend an encampment.
“I wish I would have gone to an encampment sooner,” he said. “It would have helped me a lot. It’s helping me to redefine followership in myself.”
For both he and Timpe, the initial draw to CAP was similar.
“I saw the commitment of the program, the willingness to serve the community,” Dixon said. “I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
“I just liked that everyone respected each other and it was a tight knit group,” Timpe said. He also noted the emphasis on CAP’s development of leadership skills. “The more leadership experience you can get, the more self-confidence you will build.”
As the 73 cadets sleep nightly on the bed sheets and blankets provided by their logistics non-commissioned officer, the bonds built during encampment may grow a little stronger.