The Civil Air Patrol is looking to expand to Neosho, and offered an open house Tuesday night to educate interested local residents on what the program has to offer.

The national organization, which serves as an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, has a local squadron based out of Joplin.
"The purpose of tonight's event was to gage the interest of starting a Civil Air Patrol Flight in the Neosho community," said CAP Capt. Perry Workman, of Joplin's Col. Travis Hoover Composite Squadron.

The open house was held at the Neosho Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport and offered those interested in joining the program the chance to learn more about the aviation organization.

As a composite squadron, they offer a cadet program for youth ages 12 and older, as well as opportunities for adults.
Workman said by joining the Civil Air Patrol, youth are presented with several opportunities and taught several valuable life skills, such as discipline and self-confidence.

"One of the big deals is the leadership of young people, that's just going to make better citizens," Workman said. "It's a confidence builder, it really emulates career-building."

He noted the practice cadets go through to advance to a new position in the group. He said as the cadet progresses through the program, they go before a promotion board, very similar to a real world interview.

"So by the time they get through the program, they've sit through a job interview without even knowing it," Workman said. "When we have them marching around, the marching around is the obvious thing, but they're learning to follow instructions and discipline, that's what we're teaching them."

Workman said cadets also get practice in public speaking, and for those with military ambitions, participating in the Civil Air Patrol at the rank of Cadet Officer can provide the upper hand when joining the military, allowing them to enter at an E3 rank.

Workman said for adults, especially those interested in emergency services or aerospace, the Civil Air Patrol also offers opportunities.

"We get a lot of training with FEMA and SEMA, the National Guard, we all work joint missions together," Workman said. "So there's a lot of things they could pick up there."

Workman said members of the Civil Air Patrol do pay an annual membership fee, but noted there is no prior experience required to join.

He said for cadets, those nearing the age of 12 are welcome to attend meetings, though they cannot officially join until their 12th birthday.

Workman said as interest builds in Neosho the group will look to move one meeting per month to Neosho.

"If we have some potential members that want to join, we'll start one of our meetings a month we'll meet down here," Workman said. "The idea is as we build the program, we'd end up having a flight down here."

Those interested in joining the local Civil Air Patrol can contact Workman at 417-529-2297.