Cadet Capt. Kelly Weeks, cadet commander of the Chapel Hill Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) had a lot of responsibilities at Tuesday night's meeting at St. Thomas More School. After 1st Lt. Victor Lewis of the Raleigh/Wake squad taught the group how to locate the distress signal of an aircraft, she initiated a new cadet; promoted Cadet Daniel Kong to senior airman; and then, as a step toward her own promotion to major, gave an aerospace-oriented report to the seven other cadets in attendance outnumbered by a cadre of adult CAP members. The Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, has been in existence since one week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It gives young people the opportunity to expand their knowledge of all things related to aerospace, including practical use of chemistry, physics and math; while teaching them leadership and responsibility. Recruitment into military service is not part of the program, but those interested will profit from time in CAP.Both Kelly and Daniel have followed in the footsteps of their big sisters. Kelly's sister, Sharon, now a junior at Princeton, was also commander of the unit, earning the rank of cadet colonel. Daniel's sister, Eileen, is a captain who has been in CAP for 10 years and serves as deputy commander of cadets. Eileen Kong regards the cadet program she joined as a youngster highly because she wanted to go to the Air Force academy, which she accomplished. She now pursues a career in medicine. After she opened her brother's manual, she pointed out some of the things cadets learn: defense mechanisms, organizational skills, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, individual differences and teamwork, among them. "Once you understand these leadership principles and they are used in actual practices, the world around you makes more sense in dealing with people," Kong said. "It's the art of influencing and directing people in a way that will win their obedience." But that's only one component of this program that also teaches both cadets and adults emergency services. State governments rely upon their CAP squadrons. "The state of North Carolina launched a (CAP) sortie to go out and look at hog lagoons after Ernesto," said Lt. Col. Ken Menzie, a commercial pilot, retired from the Air Force. He is the squadron aerospace education officer of the Chapel Hill squad. CAP pilots also checked for shore erosion. A few weeks ago the squadron netted Tim Fay, 12, during the Back to School Fair at University Mall. "We had a recruiting table," said Cadet Garrett Dahms, 14. He joined with his elder brother two-and-a-half years ago. "Part of our duty is recruiting." "I checked it out and it sounded kinda cool," Tim said. He was presented with a Civil Air Patrol T-shirt after his repeat-the-oath-after-me initiation. His uniform will arrive in a few weeks.New as Tim was, the demeanor of the other cadets had already tuned him in that he had begun a serious and very real adventure."I have seen cadets join Civil Air Patrol with some shyness and trepidation and blossom into strong leaders with tremendous confidence," said Paul Meade, squadron commander, who joined 10 years ago with his son. "The Civil Air Patrol is a program where both adults and youth can interact to exchange knowledge and skills while providing services to our local community." Learn more at www.ncwg.cap.gov/nc150 or call 933-8256.