Civil Air Patrol

Stevens Point Squadron shows off CAP during STEM competition

Stevens Point, Wis. – Scissors, tape and some imagination.  That’s what it took to turn a Delta Dart® flyer and a Styrofoam plate into an aircraft at the Wisconsin Destination Imagination Creativity Expo, held at the UW-Stevens Point campus Saturday, April 12.


Major Pete Arnold helps a participant ready his aircraft for flight

The Stevens Point Composite Squadron had an opportunity to showcase Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace education mission to hundreds of Destination Imagination participation and spectators.  Stevens Points Composite Squadron members were one of ten groups invited to engage K-12 students with a creative problem solving or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related exercise.

The Stevens Point squadron activity challenged participants to engineer a rubber band powered aircraft.  Squadron staff learned about the engineering challenge at the Great Lakes Region Aerospace Officers School they attended last year in Dayton Ohio.  Participants had to create an aircraft they could “fly” suspended across a monofilament line, getting as close to a targeted distance without going over.

Destination Imagination, Inc., is a non-profit global organization with the mission of inspiring a global community of learners to use diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity.  This year’s annual tournament gathered more than 5,000 problem solvers from across the state who applied diverse approaches based on the arts, service learning, and STEM.

Teams of up to seven students competed in the regional tournament. Successful teams garnered a spot in a competition against teams from across the United States and 30 other countries.  More than 125,000 students around the world participate each year in the program.

The Creativity Expo also provided the Stevens Point squadron the opportunity to promote Civil Air Patrol to parents, students, and educators. Representing Civil Air Patrol were: Major Pete Arnold, Major John Thompson, Captain Terese Barta, and Lieutenant Colonel Virginia Suarino.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 71 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 72 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans.  Visit or for more information.

Article by:  Captain Terese Barta
Photo by: Captain Terese Barta


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