Have you ever wondered what the Air Cadets are all about? Here is some information on this wonderful program aimed at youth ages 12 to 18.
The 875 Antigonish Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadets squadron is based in Antigonish and named after its sponsor the Antigonish Lions Club.
The organization promotes leadership, fitness and teamwork. Considering there are 8660 air cadets in Atlantic Canada, let’s see what it entails.
What to expect when you join?
In a nutshell, the program provides mandatory cadet training sessions once a week (from 6:00pm to 8:30pm on Mondays, September to June), and optional training sessions for biathlons, marksmanship, band, drill team marching and ground school for flying lessons.
One of the best parts of the program is the summer camps. Albeit optional, these camps offer cadets specific training and at different levels. There are 24 camp opportunities offered including sports, fitness, first aid, survival, music, navigation, aerospace, communications, airport operations. Here’s a glimpse of just a few:
The General Training camp provides cadets with an introduction to camp life and a variety of fields of interest, e.g. airport operations.
The Sports & Fitness camp prepares cadets to become as an assistant sports instructor and develop personal habits to maintain a good fitness and healthy living.
Band camp develops the cadets’ competence in music and prepares them to support their local cadet band.
Survival camp develops the cadets to become a specialist with the skills and subject matter knowledge required to be an instructor and team leader for aircrew survival activities within the Air Cadet Program.
Glider Pilot Camp includes a series of theoretical and practical lessons to train student pilots without previous experience in flight to obtain their glider pilot license.
Do cadets have to join the air force or military afterwards?
No. The Air Cadets are not, and never have to become, members of the Canadian Armed Forces. They simply learn about the different opportunities available and are exposed to various hand-on activities that promote an interest in the Royal Canadian Air Force such as the activities mentioned above. But they do not have to join the service once they are done with the program.
Beyond the training
Aside from their regular training, the cadets participate in many other fun activities. Some of the activities done in the past include movie night, Halloween party, winter ball dance, laser tag, March break trip, Get Air NS, mini-putt, and swimming.
March break trip to Halifax
Cadets and our community
Air cadets are actively involved in the community; from volunteering with the Canada Day celebrations, Highland Games and Mayfest, to taking part in RK MacDonald Nursing Home Bingo nights, to street clean-ups and much more. They also participate in the annual Remembrance Day events, Christmas parades, and flag parties to name a few.
Air cadets participating in the Canada Day celebrations
Cadets helping out at the Antigonish Highland Games
There are numerous benefits of being an air cadet:
♦ Important life skills and experiences that will help them thrive as young adults
♦ Air cadets can apply to earn an elective credit counting towards their high school graduation
♦ Countless career opportunities
What does all this cost?
Absolutely nothing! Yup, the program is completely FREE!
What about the uniform? Free as well! With an added bonus of your child learning to iron his/her own shirt & pants and shine his/her shoes!
What about the summer camps? Free!! And get this… not only are they free, but the cadets get paid a stipend for attending!
Cadets returning from summer camp
I personally cannot say enough good things about this all-inclusive program. It teaches youth responsibility, respect, camaraderie, team work and more importantly self-confidence (during the odd pre-teen-teenage years) which is paramount for shaping them into self-assured young adults.
Here are some testimonials from local cadets
“It’s a great place to make friends and socialize!”
“We learn a lot of skills and new things.”
“I feel comfortable being myself.”
“It’s just the right amount of discipline for my age.”
“I like doing drill and being on parade.”
…and from their parents
“My child’s confidence level has definitely increased since he started the program.”
“It fits him, and he fits in.”
“My child has expanded his commitment to the community through volunteer opportunities.”
“I feel proud seeing my daughter confidently on parade amongst her peers.”
“My child continues to make friends with similar core values.”
Hope you join us!
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