2019 Summer Camps

On Saturday June 29 cadets began to leave for their Cadet Training Centres (aka “camp”). They packed VERY large suitcases (or duffel bags), put on their uniforms, gave their parents a hug, and got on a bus. After several hours of travel they’ll arrive in Vernon, BC; Quadra on Vancouver Island; Cold Lake, AB; Rocky Mountain House, AB; or they might go as far as Kingston, ON or one of the other Cadet Training Centres across Canada. And then their adventures will start. They’ll be homesick, and you’ll miss them — but they’ll be learning how to be independent and how to cope with new friends, new experiences, and new challenges.

When my own daughter started cadets I had no idea what opportunities the cadet program would offer. She started out in army cadets, and spent her first summer camp at Vernon. The first few days I got text messages every night, like clockwork. She missed her family, her room, her shower, and even her little brother. After a few days I heard from her every second evening, and then every third night — until the three weeks were over and she nearly fell off the bus in her rush to get off. Ever since then she has gone to a Cadet Training Centre (CTC) every summer, leaving as soon as school is out and returning home few days before school starts again. All cadets who attend a summer CTC are paid; however after a few years the cadets who show responsibility and take their training seriously are offered staff positions, and get paid a full-time wage for their time there. Cadets put a lot of time and energy into the cadet program, many of them giving up opportunities for part-time work because cadets keeps them so busy. It’s great that the CTCs offer these cadets a way to start building some job experience, not to mention earning some well-deserved spending money that if carefully managed, will last them through to next summer.

There are many training opportunities offered to cadets. New cadets start with a two week General Training (GT) course, which will be specific to their element of Air, Army, or Sea. As well as the element-specific training GT courses also include a taste of things like Drill and Ceremonial, Marksmanship, and Music, which all elements participate in. In their second year, or if they are late joiners, cadets can choose a course to specialize in. Again, some are common to all elements, while some courses, such as Basic Seamanship, are specific to the Sea Cadets. An additional summer of training is required to specialize further before cadets can apply for staff positions.

More information about the various training opportunities is available at http://www.cadets.ca/en/summer-opportunities/training-courses.page. Cadets are selected for these opportunities based in part on recommendations from their home corps, so they’ll want to work hard through-out the year to make a good impression!

Cadet Training Centres exist across Canada, and give cadets a chance to get out of their home town and meet other cadets. Most of these cadets are from their own region, although some regions encompass several provinces/territories. Other cadets might be from across Canada, or even from other parts of the world, attending camp as part of cadet exchange programs. Regardless, cadets make friends (and “frenemies”?) with everyone, and many stay in touch for years afterwards. This experience teaches them that the world is bigger than their own backyard, and that there are differences and similarities to be valued in folks from other places. And no matter where they end up, there is the routine and ceremony of cadets to fall back on. Everyone has that, at least, in common. It’s an experience like no other, and I find it amazing that this program exists, free of charge, to teach Canada’s youth about citizenship.

For more information see http://www.cadets.ca/en/about-cadets.page or http://www.cadets.ca/en/join/cadets.page. or come and visit a parade night one Monday at the Armoury when school starts up again.