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CORE VALUES OF CIVIL AIR PATROL
As the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol embraced the concept of core values and began work on defining those values believed to be of greatest importance to the organization. CAP's core values essentially mirror the U.S. Air Force core values of Integrity, Excellence in All We Do, and Service Before Self. CAP and the Air Force share the core values of Integrity and Excellence but because of the volunteer nature of CAP's humanitarian missions, the Air Force core value of "Service Before Self" was inherently included in CAP's core value of "Volunteer Service." The National Board, recognizing the need for our diverse embership to treat each other with fairness and dignity, added the core value of Respect. In February 1999, the following core values were formally approved by the National Board: Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, and Respect.
This is the very fiber of all core values; without it all other core values cannot prevail. It is the cornerstone for all that is moral and just in our society. It is more than simple honesty. It embraces other attributes such as courage, responsibility, accountability, justice, openness, self-respect, and humility. Lastly, this core value means CAP members must practice the highest standards of self-discipline.
1. Integrity:
2. Volunteer Service:
CAP adopted this core value because it reflects the very essence of the organization�service to humanity. All CAP volunteers willingly give of their time, energy, and personal resources. Moreover, many have made the ultimate sacrifice by losing their lives while serving their neighbors. As a minimum, this core value implies a commitment on the part of all CAP members to place the organization�s purposes first and foremost. This process starts with the member�s agreement to obey the rules and regulations of CAP and the Air Force. In this regard, self-discipline is an absolute must.
3. Excellence:
This core value reflects CAP�s continuous effort to be the very best, and to consistently improve its humanitarian service to America. From personal appearance to resource management, excellence must be the goal of all CAP members.
4. Respect:
CAP members come from all walks of life. Therefore, it is extremely important that members treat each other with fairness and dignity and work together as a team. To do otherwise would seriously impair CAP�s capability to accomplish the mission
The core values outlined above serve as the foundation for how CAP members treat one
another; how they treat the recipients of CAP�s humanitarian service; and how they care for the corporate assets under their control. These basic tenets form CAP�s ethical centerline � a moral compass for the organization. If one member fails to uphold these values, then, in a way, the entire organization suffers.
Consider the values in the following:
      He was eleven years old and went fishing every chance he got from the dock at his family�s cabin on an island in the middle of a New Hampshire lake.
     On the day before the bass season opened, he and his father were fishing early in the evening, catching sunfish and perch with worms. Then he tied a small silver lure and practiced casting. The lure struck the water and caused colored ripples in the sunset, then silver ripples as the moon rose over the lake.
     When his pole doubled over, he knew something huge was on the other end. His father watched with admiration as the boy skillfully worked the fish alongside the dock.
     Finally, he very gingerly lifted the exhausted fish from the water. It was the largest one he had ever seen, but it was a bass.
     The boy and his father looked at the handsome fish, gills playing back and forth in the moonlight. The father lit a match and looked at his watch. It was 10 P.M. � two hours before the season opened. He looked at the fish, then at the boy.
     �You�ll have to put it back, son,� he said.
     �Dad!� cried the boy.
     �There will be other fish,� said his father.
     �Not as big as this one,� cried the boy.
     He looked around the lake. No other fishermen or boats were anywhere around in the moonlight. He looked again at his father.
     Even though no one had seen them, nor could anyone ever know what time he caught the fish, the boy could tell by the clarity of his father�s voice that the decision was not negotiable. He slowly worked the hook out of the lip of the huge bass and lowered it into the black water.
     The creature swished its powerful body and disappeared. The boy suspected that he would never again see such a great fish.
     That was 34 years ago. Today, the boy is a successful architect in New York City. His father�s cabin is still there on the island in the middle of the lake. He takes his own son and daughters fishing from the same dock. And he was right. He has never again caught such a magnificent fish as the one he landed that night long ago. But he does see that same fish � again and again � every time he comes up against a question of ethics.
     For, as his father taught him, ethics are simple matters of right and wrong. It is only the practice of ethics that is difficult. Do we do right when no one is looking? Do we refuse to cut corners to get the design in on time? Or refuse to trade stocks based on information that we know we aren�t supposed to have?
     We would if we were taught to put the fish back when we were young. For we would have learned the truth.
     The decision to do right lives fresh and fragrant in our memory. It is a story we will proudly tell our friends and grandchildren. Not about how we had a chance to beat the system and took it, but about how we did the right thing and were forever strengthened.
Source: Civil Air Patrol Publication CAPP 50-2
CHARLESTON COMPOSITE SQUADRON