Thank you for considering the ALERT Cadet program. Below are some frequently asked questions from people like yourself. If you don’t see the answer to your question, please use this link to send your question directly to ALERT Cadet Headquarters. A staff member will respond with an answer for you!
What is the ALERT Cadet program?
Q: What is the ALERT Cadet Program?
A: The ALERT Cadet program is an outgrowth of the ALERT program. ALERT is the Air Land Emergency Resource Team. Both are ministries of the International ALERT Academy. The mission of the ALERT Cadet program is to assist fathers in raising their 8-17 year-old sons by providing a structured program and prepared materials. A distinctive of the ALERT Cadet program is that the fathers are involved in all aspects of their son’s activities. You can find more information on the ALERT program at the ALERT and ALERT Cadet websites, alertacademy.com and alertcadet.org, respectively.
Q: What is the International ALERT Academy (IAA)?
A: IAA was started in 1994 with the vision of preparing generations of sons to be followers of Christ. It accomplishes this vision by creating and sponsoring material and programs to assist fathers in the maturing of their children. IAA is a recognized Christian, non-profit, 501(C) 3 organization, incorporated in Texas.
Q: Who is eligible to be an ALERT Cadet?
A: All Christian fathers and sons are eligible to join and participate in the program. To be an officer, however, the father must sign a statement of faith and agree to uphold the leadership requirements for ALERT Cadet officers.
Q: What is the cost for the ALERT Cadet program?
A: There is a $35 per family fee to receive the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual (BTM), one for the father and one for each son, age 8 and older. Additional sons in the same family may receive their own ALERT Cadet BTM for a booklet charge of $5 when they reach the age of 8.
Fathers and sons must, at some time during Basic Training, purchase a basic uniform package (which consists of a green deployment-style t-shirt, a pair of khaki BDU (military cargo-style) pants, a black webbing belt, and a khaki Marine-style cover (cap)), at a per person fee of $40.
At the completion of their ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual (BTM), fathers and sons may apply for Advancement. There is an $87 per person application fee, which covers issuance of the Green ALERT Cadet uniform shirt with appropriate insignia, an ALERT Cadet Membership Card, an ALERT Cadet Journal, and the first of seven handbooks: the Novice Handbook.
There are no ALERT Cadet Headquarters imposed recurring fees. However, each unit may charge a nominal amount for dues to cover on-going expenses, awards, service projects, and unit activities.
Q: What is the organizational structure of ALERT Cadet?
A: The basic element of the ALERT Cadet program is the family group, which is made up of a father and his sons. Sons, aged 13 and older, can be designated as members of the Leadership Training Corps (LTC) and given additional responsibilities.
Fathers serve as the leadership (officers) in the ALERT Cadet structure. The unit leader and father assign cadets leadership responsibilities.
Upon receipt of the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual application, each family group is assigned to a unit. A family group actually joins the ALERT Cadet program when the father and one or more sons have completed their ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual and have applied for membership.
A unit is composed of three to five families in a geographical area. The unit leader, who holds the rank of 1st Lieutenant, must sign and adhere to a statement of Christian faith.
Many large units divide into smaller squads, each under a father who serves as a squad leader, for accountability. A squad leader holds the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Units are designated by letters (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.) and squads are designated by numbers.
Q: What is involved in starting a unit?
A: A minimum of three fathers and their sons must have completed the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual before they are officially recognized as a unit. (On a case by case basis, we allow two family units to start.) The families may meet “unofficially” as a unit beforehand. When the minimum three families have completed the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual:
1) They apply for Advancement together (with the $87 per person fee),
2) One of the fathers agrees to lead the unit and completes the “Leadership Recommendation Form,” and
3) The unit leader completes a roster that details who is joining the unit and when ALERT Cadet meetings will be held.
To obtain these forms, contact ALERT Cadet Headquarters and request the “Forming a New ALERT Cadet Unit” packet. Once the forms are received at ALERT Cadet Headquarters, the unit will be officially chartered and the unit leader commissioned.
A document containing detailed information on this process, as well as some advice, can be found on the ALERT Cadet website at www.alertcadet.org/members/forms/.
Q: What if there are no other families in my area interested in the ALERT Cadet program?
A: One of the distinctives of the ALERT Cadet program is the accountability that is established between like-minded fathers and sons. Hence, being part of a unit is a requirement to continue in the ALERT Cadet program beyond the Basic Training Manual. If there are no other interested families in an area, families are assigned to the nearest unit.
The best way to find interested fathers in your community is through a church, civic, or home school support group. It is not necessary for other families to be home schooling or to be involved in a specific ministry or program to join. ALERT Cadet Headquarters can also assist in finding other families in a specific geographic area through its central membership database.
Q: What are the requirements for leadership in the ALERT Cadet program?
A: In order to hold a leadership office, a father must be active in ALERT Cadet, have a son in the ALERT Cadet program, complete a leadership application, and be approved by two levels of ALERT Cadet Senior Leadership.
Q: How may we involve sons younger than eight years?
A: Those sons younger than eight are welcome to attend the unit meetings, but they may not participate fully in the ALERT Cadet program. They will be greatly encouraged and motivated by seeing the older young men complete their handbooks and learn new skills. As younger sons mature, they may begin working through the Basic Training Manual. However, a son may not join ALERT Cadet until he becomes eight years old. A wise father may want to set a goal for his seven year-old to complete his BTM by his eighth birthday in order to receive his uniform on his birthday!
Q: What interaction should a new father and son have with their assigned unit while they are completing the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual?
A: The Basic Training Manual is designed to be completed in four weeks. During this time the father should be in regular contact with his unit leader via telephone or e-mail so that he is aware of the unit’s activities and can participate with the unit in service projects, campouts, and other unit activities while working in the BTM. Maintaining contact with the assigned unit during the time it takes the father and son to complete their Basic Training Manual allows them to integrate smoothly once they become ALERT Cadet members.
Q: What is expected of fathers in the ALERT Cadet program?
A: The father has the role of assisting his son through the ALERT Cadet program and helping him grow to be a young man who is “Strong to Overcome.” Fathers are encouraged to complete the handbook material with their sons and actively participate in all service projects, adventure outings, and physical training.
Father involvement is critical to the success of a son and of the ALERT Cadet program. Our experience has shown that fathers who are actively engaged with their sons in completing the handbooks in a timely manner are more likely to win the heart of their sons.
Q: Are fathers required to complete the handbooks with their sons?
A: No. While fathers are not required to complete the handbooks, it is a great encouragement to the son when the father actively participates in what the son is learning and doing. At a minimum, a father should work together with his son on projects, assign sections of the handbook, and check his completed work.
Q: Are fatherless young men excluded?
A: If a young man’s father is at all involved in his life, he should participate with the son. If there is not a father in the young man’s life, it is permissible to have a male relative (uncle, grandfather, or older brother), or another father or older young man act as the young man’s accountability partner in the ALERT Cadet program. Caution is necessary, however as many activities require the father to give specific input and vision to the son. An ALERT Cadet Captain or Major must approve all situations where the father is not involved on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How much time will the program require?
A: Many units meet every two weeks for accountability purposes, while some meet weekly, and others meet per month. Occasional camping trips and service projects are also scheduled. On a daily basis, the ALERT Cadet program requires approximately one hour to complete the daily disciplines of Journal writing, Scripture memorization, and physical exercise. Approximately two additional hours per week are required to make steady progress in the handbooks.
- Start off promptly at 7 PM with a flag ceremony, prayer, and announcements.
- Learn the history of and sing the hymn they are memorizing that month.
- Drill practice or physical training.
- Father and son time to review, set goals for the future, and work on handbooks.
- Teaching time consisting of a father or LTC teaching on a new skill (such as first-aid or pocket-knife safety) or a new character quality (such as faith or generosity).
- Awards are given and any last-minute announcements are made at a final formation, at approximately 8:30 PM.
- Officers stay a few minutes to talk about upcoming items, while fathers and sons play basketball or another active game in the church gymnasium.
Q: Who may attend ALERT Cadet unit meetings?
A: Fathers with sons eight years and older are welcome to attend. Younger brothers may come under their father’s supervision. Mothers and other siblings are welcome to observe the meetings and to be present when awards are given.
Q: May fathers and sons who have not completed the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual participate in their unit’s meetings and activities?
A: Yes. They cannot become full members of the ALERT Cadet program until they complete their ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual and have their application approved by ALERT Cadet Headquarters, but they may meet with a unit for encouragement and accountability. However, they must complete the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual before they may attend any of the ALERT Cadet-sponsored special event camps.
Q: Do squads that are part of a unit meet together or separately?
A: The preferred mode is for squads to meet together as a unit for encouragement and accountability. The larger numbers also provide greater manpower for service projects.
Q: May I start the handbooks immediately after finishing the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual?
A: Yes. However, fathers and sons must apply for membership before they begin the handbooks. Handbook materials are sent upon approval of each membership application; they are not available for purchase without membership in ALERT Cadet.
Q: What is the ALERT Cadet curriculum?
A: The curriculum consists of the Basic Training Manual (BTM) followed by seven handbooks each with six phases. The ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual is designed to be completed in four to six weeks. After completion of the manual, the father and his son(s) may then apply to join the ALERT Cadet program. Each handbook is designed to be completed in one year.
The ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual is designed to teach skills and character related to the ALERT Cadet Covenant. Projects focus on alertness, honor and respect for authority, obedience, truthfulness, orderliness, and gratefulness.
Each ALERT Cadet then progress through a series of seven handbooks (Novice, Pilgrim, Craftsman, Servant, Soldier, Truth Seeker, Life Giver) designed to take an ALERT Cadet from being a child to a man. Each handbook consists of six phases. Each phase booklet includes Scripture memory, Scripture meditation, character training, life skills training, adventure projects, physical training, and opportunities for service to others.
A diligent and motivated ALERT Cadet should be able to complete each phase in six to eight weeks and an entire handbook in a year. The completion of a phase booklet in six weeks, with appropriate character, will earn an ALERT Cadet the Good Conduct ribbon. Fathers have discretion on the pace at which he and his son(s) progress through the materials, perhaps pausing to focus on specific character attributes. Fathers are not required to complete the handbooks with their son(s), but are highly encouraged to do so.
Q: What topics do the handbooks cover?
A: Handbooks consist of six phases, each of which may be completed in six to eight weeks. Thus, a handbook supplies an entire year, with breaks, of material for a father and son. Phase booklets include the following topics:
- Scripture memory
- Scripture meditation
- Adventure projects
- Physical training
- Character training
- Service opportunities
Q: Who decides when an ALERT Cadet has completed a requirement?
A: The father makes the ultimate decisions as to when he or his son has completed a requirement or project. Sons hold their fathers accountable. For additional accountability, fathers and sons may want to review portions of the handbook with their unit leader. In this way, a father may make adjustments to the materials to meet specific physical or mental challenges in a young man’s life.
With respect to promotions, not only the young man’s father, but also all fathers in the unit and the unit leader must agree. Approval from the ALERT Cadet Senior Leadership Team and Headquarters is the final step for promotions and some awards.
Q: What does the ALERT Cadet website contain?
A: The website, located at www.alertcadet.org has up-to-date
information on future camps, a photo gallery, and downloadable resources. There is also a section for ALERT Cadet leadership; it contains resources and advice from other ALERT Cadet officers as well as forms, the Leadership Manual, and lesson plans.
Q: May we have an ALERT Cadet information table at church events or book fairs?
A: Yes. Simply request a display package from ALERT Cadet Headquarters or your ALERT Cadet Captain. Additionally, ALERT often has teams travel to many locations for recruiting and service. They are available to assist in promoting the ALERT and ALERT Cadet programs.
Q: How are the ALERT Cadet camps offered and the dates determined?
A: At the end of each calendar year the ALERT Cadet Senior Leadership meets together to discuss schedules, themes, camps, locations, and other details for the coming year. During these strategy sessions, a clear picture of the schedule for the year emerges. This schedule is then communicated on the website under the “Events” section.