Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What do I need to join?

You are eligible to join a cadet squadron if you are between the ages of 12 and 19 years of age. You must have reached your 12th birthday before you can be registered for the program. The documents required for enrollment in the Canadian Cadet Movement are:

– Proof of provincial health insurance (Ontario or Quebec)

– Birth Certificate (or Passport)

– Proof of residency status (for non-Canadian citizens)

Why should I join Cadets?

Cadets offers challenges, friendship and adventure! It’s an opportunity to expand your own horizons, contribute to your community and make friends for life. Many former Cadets credit their participation in the program with giving them a head-start toward their successful careers. Did you know that astronaut Chris Hadfield, Olympic biathlon gold medalist Myriam Bédard and actor Jim Carrey were all Cadets in their teens?

What do Cadets do?

Cadets are teenagers like you who take part in activities at Cadet Units within their local

community. These activities are designed to help you to become more self-confident, to

develop your leadership skills, to improve your physical fitness and communication skills, and to teach you self-discipline through challenging training.

What does it cost to join?

Nothing – the Cadet program is free of charge.

When does the squadron meet?

653 Champlain Squadron conducts its training parades on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.  Teams practicing for Regionally Directed Activities, such as the Biathlon Team, Drill Team, and Marksmanship Team will meet during other evenings of the week, in advance of their respective competitions. Activities such as survival training exercises and flying will be conducted on weekends.

Will Cadet training affect my schoolwork?

Education is very important to Cadets. Cadet training is a hands-on, activity-based program that should complement your school studies. In fact, the Provincial school board accepts Cadet subjects and years of service for school credits. As well, there are several scholarships and training bursaries available through Cadets.

Do I have to buy my own uniform?

No. The Canadian Forces loan complete uniforms to Cadets. In return, Cadets are expected to take good care of their uniform by maintaining them weekly.

If I don’t pay to join Cadets, then who pays?

The major partners in the Cadet Program are the Department of National Defense and Air Cadet League of Canada (a civilian non-profit corporation). These organizations work together to provide the facilities and material required to operate each Cadet Corps and Squadron.

What are Tag Days?

Tags days are a fundraising activity. While the Department of National Defense pays for most of the program, the Squadron Sponsoring Committee (SSC) pays for the extras, such as our Year-End trip. The SSC gets its money through a variety of fundraising activities, and since all of the funds raised go to the benefit of our cadets, it is important for all cadets to take part in the fundraising.

What will I do at weekly meetings?

In addition to learning about aviation, other training that you can expect at your unit include ceremonial drill, first aid, sports, and citizenship in support of your community. While 653 does not presently have a music program, if the interest is there we will be there too.

What about weekends?

Weekends are mostly about practical training that we cannot do in the classroom; Aircrew Survival and Familiarization Flying particularly. There will also be occasional

Citizenship activities, aviation-related trips, as well as optional Regionally Directed Activities such as Biathlon, Marksmanship and Public Speaking. There will also be plenty of time to have fun and make new friends!

What about summer camps?

Cadets have the opportunity to apply for training at various summer training centers located across Canada. Courses range from two to eight weeks in duration. Each camp offers a unique mixture of outdoor activities and valuable instruction. Attendance at Cadet Summer Camps is free. The Canadian Forces provide all transportation, meals, lodging and special equipment. Every Cadet attending summer camp receives a training allowance; Cadets in staff positions at camp receive a salary.

What do I do at summer camp?

Courses offered at Air Cadet summer camps include training in leadership, instructional techniques, music, marksmanship, flying, navigation, meteorology, air traffic control, ceremonial drill, physical education, survival training, aerospace studies and citizenship. Advanced Cadets can qualify for glider scholarships and powered flight scholarships.

Are there travel opportunities?

Definitely! For summer training, Cadets travel to one of 28 Summer Camps located in different parts of Canada. In addition, selected Cadets go on exchange trips to countries such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Turkey, the United States and Belgium under an international exchange program. Exchange Cadets are selected on their high standards in

performance, fitness, and involvement in Cadet activities.

Who instructs Cadets?

Cadets learn from members of the Cadet Instructors Cadre; Canadian Forces Reserve Officers who are specially trained to instruct and supervise youth. In some cases, civilian volunteers who possess special skills are called in to assist Cadet Instructors. Both the Cadet Instructors and civilian volunteers have chosen to dedicate their valuable time to helping Cadets reach their potential.

What is Fast-Tracking?

Fast-Tracking can occur when a cadet joins when they are older than 12 years of age. Following an interview with the Commanding Officer, if it is deemed beneficial for the cadet, they may begin their training with their peers in Level 2 or Level 3.

Will I be expected to join the Canadian Forces?

No – Cadets make absolutely no commitments regarding future military service, and are free to leave at any time. However, those who decide to join the Forces later on start out with the advantage of having learned valuable skills through Cadets.

Can my parents get involved?

Absolutely. We offer a lot of activities for our cadets, and can always use another helping hand. For the safety of our cadets, all Civilian Volunteers must complete a screening process first. Please contact our Administration Officer to obtain the necessary paperwork.

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