The California Cadet Corps

The California Cadet Corps, officially founded in 1911 by the California Legislature and then Adjutant General BG Edwin A. Forbes, is thought to be the oldest known program of its type in the country.  The Cadet Corps is a school-based, applied leadership program conducted within a military framework and is designed to provide maximum growth and leadership opportunities for cadets from the elementary through the High School levels and stresses six objectives:
• Develop leadership skills
• Enhance academic achievement
• Foster good citizenship
• Promote patriotism
• Provide basic military knowledge
• Encourage health, wellness, and fitness
The California Cadet Corps provides applied leadership opportunities for cadets by allowing them to conduct training to junior cadets, to perform as leaders in their cadet military units, and by demonstrating proper behavior and citizenship at their schools and in their communities.  As part of their training, cadets provide assistance and support to the school and community.  Examples include color guards, participation in parades, charitable event support, serving as student leaders and peer mentors and escorts or monitors for activities.
The California Cadet Corps motto is “ESSAYONS” – a French word meaning, “Let Us Try.”  It goes to the heart of the Cadet Corps’ applied leadership concept.  Our cadets learn, mature, and develop by leading.  Leadership is taught by learning theory, conducting classic leadership case studies, and most importantly, providing many applied leadership opportunities in what is called the “leadership laboratory”.
The most recent independent evaluation of the California Cadet Corps proves conclusively that cadets stay in school, contribute positively to school safety, and do not join gangs.  Statistics indicate, as a result, that cadets do better academically than their peers, have better attendance, fewer suspensions and expulsions, are three times as likely to attend college, do better on the California Physical Fitness Test, and do significantly better on the state’s academic standardized reporting and assessment system (STAR) tests. 
In school year 2015-16, the California Cadet Corps reported an enrollment of approximately 5,947 cadets at 51 school sites.  The majority of these schools are in the Southern California area.  Recent statistics indicated that the Cadet Corps is an exceptionally diverse program, comprised of the following ethnicities: 54% Hispanic; 22% Black; 12% Asian; 11% White and 1% Other. Additionally, 61% of Cadet Corps youth receive free and reduced lunch and 21% are English as a second language student.
The California Cadet Corps program is offered through school, as part of the total school mission and curriculum.  The California Cadet Corps class can be taken as an elective, or, as a substitute for physical education.  This is a decision each school makes individually.  The value of the Cadet Corps is reflected in its long history, successful graduates, and continued support from the Governor, the California Legislature, the California National Guard, educators and civic leaders throughout California.