The Cadet Advisory Council (CAC) is a national hierarchy of cadets whose job it is to advise their commanders on ways to improve the cadet program at the wing, region, and national level. In Minnesota, each squadron may send one or two delegates (a primary and secondary representative) to the wing council. The Minnesota CAC is responsible for running the wing volleyball tournament amongst other things.
Normally, to effect change at a high level within a structured organization like Civil Air Patrol, you have to pass feedback through your local chain of command to your squadron commander, who has to pass that feedback through the wing chain of command to the wing commander, who in turn passes that feedback through the region and then national chains of command. The Cadet Advisory Council is meant to be a way to sidestep that chain in an advisory manner. Each squadron sends a cadet directly to their wing level, already bypassing much of the chain, and that wing CAC can provide advice directly to the Wing commander.
Likewise, to acquire feedback for a program or activity, or even just to get a feel for how the cadets in the wing are doing, the wing commander traditionally has to ask the group commanders to ask the squadron commanders to ask the cadet staff to ask the cadets for feedback. However, using the Cadet Advisory Council, the wing commander can directly ask the council for their opinion as cadets of squadrons around the wing, or even ask them to directly talk to cadets within their squadrons.
The Cadet Advisory Council meets once monthly, and in person at the MN Wing Headquarters once quarterly. MN Wing members are invited to attend these cadet meetings, and can request specific meeting details using our contact form. Meeting topics are planned in advance by the council Chair with input from council members. During a normal meeting, the Twin Cities squadrons (or all squadrons once quarterly) gather at the MN Wing Headquarters, grab some snacks, and get to work reviewing the last month of work (and previewing the upcoming one). A virtual meeting is set up for the squadrons farther from the Twin Cities areas, like Crookston or Duluth.
The CAC loosely follows the recommended parliamentary procedures from Robert's Rules of Order, giving members a chance to become familiar with the procedures used in real-life business board meetings. However, to avoid becoming bogged down in procedural red tape, while some of the organization and terminology is borrowed, the CAC tries not to spend too much time in the details and focuses on actually getting work done. New members are selected each year and aren't required to have any experience with Robert's Rules whatsoever.
If you have some ideas that you think could improve Minnesota Wing as a whole, make things easier for our members, or just want to pass along a good idea to other squadrons around the wing, contact your squadron's representative!
Join the CAC
The CAC term starts in October each year and runs for a 12 month period. Staff position applications (Chair, Vice Chair, or Recorder) for the council are usually opened in July or August, but squadron-level CAC representatives are appointed by the local squadron commander in eServices or by contacting the MN Director of Cadet Programs. Different squadrons run their selection process differently, so if you're interested in joining, reach out to your chain of command and ask how to apply.
To learn more about how the CAC runs behind the scenes, read through CAPP 52-19, the Cadet Advisory Council Guide.
Upon completion of the CAC term, CAC representatives are allowed to wear the white CAC ribbon with echelon commander approval, with different colored stars depending on what level CAC you serve on. At the Wing level, the bronze star is approved. During the term, primary representatives are allowed to wear the red shoulder cord.