If you have a question that isn’t listed below, please send your question directly to ALERT Cadet Headquarters, and a staff member will get in touch with you.

What is ALERT Cadet?

ALERT Cadet is a nationwide Christian father/son discipleship program. As a ministry of the International ALERT Academy, ALERT Cadet sponsors events, publishes booklets, and provides oversight to local units.

Who is eligible to be an ALERT Cadet?

All Christian fathers with sons age 8 to 17 are eligible to join.

What about fatherless young men?

If a young man’s father is at all involved in his life, he should participate with his son. If there is not a father in the young man’s life, a male relative or another man may act as the young man’s accountability partner within ALERT Cadet. 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.

What is the ALERT Cadet curriculum?

The curriculum consists of the Basic Training Manual (BTM) followed by four handbooks: Novice, Pilgrim, Craftsman, and Servant.

The BTM is designed to teach foundational skills and character related to the ALERT Cadet Covenant; projects focus on alertness, honor, respect, obedience, truthfulness, orderliness, and gratefulness. The manual should take 2 to 4 weeks to complete, after which the ALERT Cadet will apply for Advancement to his first rank and handbook.

Each of the four handbooks can be completed in one year. There are 6 eight-week phases in each handbook, and every phase booklet includes:

  • Scripture memory
  • Scripture meditation
  • Adventure projects
  • Physical training
  • Character training
  • Service opportunities

ALERT Cadets who complete a phase booklet in 6 weeks, rather than 8, are eligible for the Good Conduct ribbon.

How much does it cost?

Visit Costs & Fees for more details.

As an ALERT Cadet father, how involved should I be?

A father’s involvement is critical to his son’s success, in ALERT Cadet and in life. Fathers are encouraged to participate in all service projects, adventure outings, and physical training, and to help their sons complete the handbooks. Our experience has shown that fathers who are actively engaged with their sons in ALERT Cadet can lay the foundation for a lifetime of trust and understanding.

What is the organizational structure of ALERT Cadet?

The basic element of ALERT Cadet is the family group: one father and his sons. Each family group is assigned to a local unit, and every father is an officer in the ALERT Cadet leadership structure. A unit typically consists of 3 to 5 families led by a Cadet 2nd Lieutenant, who must sign and adhere to a statement of Christian faith. If there are not three families located nearby, a single family can still join.  These families are called Third Delta (or distant family).  The father and son(s) can do all of the projects, activities and assignments just like a formed unit.  They can look for families in their area that are also interested in discipleship of their sons.  Once three families have reached the Advancement stage in ALERT Cadet, a new unit can be formed.

Large units may be divided into smaller squads, with a Cadet 1st Lieutenant over the entire unit, and a Cadet 2nd Lieutenant over each squad. Units are designated by letters (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.) and squads are designated by numbers.

Sons age 13 and older can join the Leadership Training Corps (LTC) and assume additional responsibilities.

How much time does ALERT Cadet require?

ALERT Cadets set aside time each day to complete the daily disciplines of Journal writing, Scripture memorization, and physical exercise. Beyond that, additional time should be taken each week to make steady progress in the handbooks.

Most ALERT Cadet units meet every two weeks, while some meet weekly or monthly instead. Camping trips and service projects are scheduled at each unit’s discretion.

What is a unit meeting like?

Each unit sets its own agenda and schedule. Local unit leaders typically opt to include some or all of the following elements in their meetings:

  • Open with a flag ceremony, prayer, and announcements.
  • Sing a hymn; some units select a new hymn each month and take time to learn its history.
  • Drill practice or physical training.
  • Father-and-son time to review handbook assignments and set goals for the future.
  • Teaching time consisting of a father or LTC teaching a skill (such as first aid or basic carpentry) or a character quality (such as initiative or discretion).
  • Awards are given and final announcements are made at a closing formation.

Can my son and I begin attending unit meetings before we’ve completed the Basic Training Manual?


Can my younger sons be involved?

Sons younger than 8 years old are welcome to attend unit meetings, at the Unit Leader’s discretion, and may begin working through the Basic Training Manual, so that they’re ready to apply for Advancement when they turn 8. Once in a while, an ALERT Cadet father will encourage his son to complete the Basic Training Manual early, and then present him with his new uniform as an 8th birthday gift!

What if there are no ALERT Cadet units in my area?

New families are generally assigned to the unit that is located nearest to them; if distance makes regular participation with a unit impossible, fathers can still guide their sons through the handbooks at home, and take part in unit events as they’re able.

You can also form a new unit with other families from your church, workplace, or home school support group. Families are not required to home school or to be involved in a specific ministry or program to join.

Finally, there may be ALERT Cadet families in your area who are part of a remote unit, and who would like to join you in forming a new one. ALERT Cadet Headquarters maintains a database of all member families; contact us and we’ll help you locate other fathers near you.

How do I start a new unit?

To be recognized as a unit, at least three fathers and their sons must complete the ALERT Cadet Basic Training Manual. Next:

1) They apply for Advancement;
2) One of the fathers agrees to lead the unit and completes the “Leadership Recommendation Form;”
3) The unit leader completes a unit roster, including details on when ALERT Cadet meetings will be held.

These forms can be found in 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.

What are the requirements for ALERT Cadet leadership?

To hold a leadership office, a father must be active in ALERT Cadet together with at least one of his sons, and be approved by two levels of ALERT Cadet Senior Leadership. In order to progress in rank as leadership officers, fathers must sign a statement of faith and agree to uphold the ALERT Cadet leadership requirements.

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