CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As dusk falls on the Air National Guard Armory near Coonskin Park, cadets in dress blues practice footwork drills.
It's one aspect of a Civil Air Patrol program that focuses on aviation but also emphasizes discipline and teamwork. Adults and students meet from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday.
Members are able to take part in activities at local, state, and national levels, assisting with different hands-on experiences. Cadets are able to take part in leadership training, obstacle courses, flying exercises, exploration of aviation careers and more.
"The cadets are able to participate in aerospace activities, using gliders for training, and different types of training camps," said 1st Lt. Amy Higgs, public affairs officer for the Charleston Cadet Squadron.
Although the program might sound like fun and games, there are certain requirements that cadets must abide by.
"There are certain objectives the cadets must meet, such as completing hours in classes," Higgs said. "This helps them to earn certain ranks in the program."
The Civil Air Patrol program offers students between the ages of 12 and 18 the opportunity to experience applied aviation curriculum.
With this multi-step program, cadets have the chance to make a difference in their own lives as well as their community's. The cadet can stay with the program until the age of 21.
The young cadets say they got involved for a variety of reasons.
"I've been in the program for about 3 months and have already learned a lot from the program," said Samantha Bryant, an 8th grade student at Ripley Middle School. "It's a respectable program that helps you become trustworthy and apply more respect towards others."