Civil Air Patrol: William P. Knight Composite Squadron

Beginning in May 2021, Compass partnered with the William P. Knight  William P. Knight Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The Knight Squadron meets at Compass each week. Homeschooled teens can take advantage of this valuable extracurricular opportunity right here at Compass, their own “school.” Read below for more information.


Civil Air Patrol serves the community through education, service, and emergency response/preparedness. Youth members of CAP, ages 12-18, are known as Cadets. CAP cadets focus on aerospace and cyberspace education, character development, leadership, physical fitness, and community service. Cadets have additional opportunities for orientation flights, encampments, and extracurricular activities such as rocketry club, drill team, color guard, orienteering club, CyberPatriots, and StellarXplorers. CAP has a tiered cadet leadership structure in which members can earn ranks and promotions, and more senior members take active leadership roles in the training and development of newer members.

Adults members from the community and from any professional field are also welcome to join CAP. Adults CAP members are known as “Seniors” and serve as mentors, pilots, administrators, and ground team members for youth.

The CAP program follows a military model and incorporates traditions, structure, and uniforms from the US Air Force. CAP Core Values are Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, and Respect. The William P. Knight Composite Squadron in Herndon is part of the Virginia Wing of Civil Air Patrol. Civil Air Patrol is congressionally chartered and operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. As the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP performs services for states and local communities.

Cadet Program

Following are some additional details about the CAP cadet youth leadership program:

  • Educates youth in four main program areas — leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character development.
  • Enriches school and homeschool curricula through afterschool programs.
  • Offers orientation flights in powered and glider aircraft.
  • Provides activities, competitions, and opportunities for recognition as cadets at the local, state, regional and national levels.
  • Provides opportunities for community involvement through color guard/drill team and emergency service missions.
  • Challenges youth to be ambassadors for a drug-free lifestyle.
  • Introduces thousands of cadets to cyber defense careers through CyberPatriot, the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Security Competition.
  • 10% of the Air Force Academy student body participated in CAP.
  • Cadets who earn the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award can enlist in the Air Force, U.S. Army, or U.S. Coast Guard at a higher pay grade.
  • Participates in the International Air Cadet Exchange program.
  • Awards college scholarships in several disciplines, as well as flight training scholarships.

Membership in Civil Air Patrol is open to teens ages 12-18 and adults ages 18+. Cadets may attend any public school, private or parochial school, or be homeschooled. Enrollment in Compass classes is not a prerequisite to participation.

Meeting Schedule/Commitment

Civil Air Patrol meets weekly on Thursdays, from 7:00 pm- 9:00 pm. Regular meetings are held at Compass, and Cadet Physical Training (PT) meetings are held at Bready Park in Herndon. A typical monthly schedule includes:

  • 1st Thursday: Aerospace Education
  • 2nd Thursday: Cadet Leadership/Character
  • 3rd Thursday: Various Topics
  • 4th Thursday: PT
  • 5th Thursday: Social Activity
  • Saturdays: Extracurricular clubs, drill activities, orientation flights, etc.
  • Annual Events: Summer Encampment
Getting Started

Interested Cadet members are invited to attend meetings as fully participating guests for 3-4 weeks in order to try the range of activities/meetings. Afterwards, Cadet members will be given information to enroll and obtain a uniform.


For more information about Civil Air Patrol or to RSVP as a guest participant at an upcoming meeting, visit the squadron webpage or e-mail the squadron commander at Ask for a CAP pamphlet at the Compass Front Desk.