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Virginia Civil Air Patrol Accepts Challenge

June 9, 2020

Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing (CAP) 2,000 members actively engaged in a multi-faceted virtual challenge which resulted in increased participation and camaraderie across the state during their meeting and activity stand-down due to COVID-19.   

When meetings were suspended and could no longer be held in  units in Virginia Wing transitioned to virtual meetings within the first week. Effective use of the technology quickly spread and two weeks later almost all 23 units in the wing were meeting virtually. There were initial concerns about units being able to continue to operate only using remote virtual meetings but the squadrons quickly adapted and the hashtag #CAPisnotShutdown was born.  The challenge was introduced to further encourage members to interact remotely, going beyond the once a week virtual meeting, to continue to advance their education and training, and pursue healthy ways to manage stress.  

In the VAWG Commander’s Challenge, members and units engaged in a challenge that provided a friendly competition to encourage activity in all aspects of CAP. CAP has three main missions, cadet programs, aerospace education, and emergency services, all of which were engaged during the challenge. Cadet achievement tests, physical fitness, FEMA & FAA course completion, virtual workshop attendance, and Senior Member professional development completion were just some of the criteria used for the challenge. As members completed tasks related to their training, education, and professional development in CAP’s missions, activities were converted to a point value. Langley Composite Squadron, based at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, placed first in the wing with 4,705 points.  

Numerous virtual workshops and courses were held during evenings and weekends including emergency services qualifications, such as mission scanner, unmanned aerial systems, mission staff assistants, and pilot training. Professional development advancement opportunities were widely available with the “Training Leaders of Cadets Course,” “Corporate Learning Course”, and “Squadron Leadership School” all converting to a virtual format to support training for CAP members, all of which were hosted by the wing.  

In total, cadets passed 492 tests, completed 1,205 days of physical fitness (pushups and situps), 189 members attended virtual emergency services training, 330 senior members attended workshops, and members completed 2,721 days of walking or other exercise resulting in a total of 6,037 miles plus another 1,705 hours of other exercise. A total of 34 senior members completed the Aerospace Education Program for Senior Members over the 8-week period (compared to 46 in 2019). 

In addition to the unit challenges, there was a photo contest, essay contest, and a STEM fair, which were open to members to compete individually.  

Colonel Dean Gould, the Virginia Wing Commander, commented, “I am very proud of the resilience of the wing during this time. The continued participation and momentum is inspiring and has afforded all members opportunities to move forward in individual growth and as a wing we can come out stronger than before.”  

Check out the CAPisNotShutdown album on Virginia Wing's Facebook (facebook.com/vawgcap) page for a small insight into all the activities that occurred in the state these past few months. 

For More Information:

Maj. Jacob Bixler, CAP – jacob.bixler@vawg.cap.gov – 540-664-4376

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