Much more to cadet training than drills and exercise

  • Jul. 30, 2014 4:39 p.m.

Throughout the summer, more than 1,000 cadets from across Canada converge in Springbrook to build skills in either army, navy or air cadet training.

The Penhold Air Cadet Summer Training Centre (PACSTC) is located in Springbrook and has been transformed from a Canadian Forces Base to the largest cadet training facility in the northwest region.

There are three divisions of the centre – basic and advanced training, general training and music training. Within each of those programs, there are a variety of activities offered that include general training, basic drill and ceremonial, ceremonial instructor, air rifle marksmanship instructor and basic, intermediate and advanced level military bands.

“The benefits of participating in a cadet program are mostly leadership and citizenship skills. They learn to appreciate a cadet’s country, and cadets learn people skills and physical training,” said Sara Wasiuta, unit public affairs representative for PACSTC.

She adds, “Sometimes they have organized free time, so they watch movies in the theatre or play games. They’re always kept busy. We have staff cadets who work for us, and they always have games and things to keep the cadets busy, keep them happy.”

The training centre is open to youth ages 12 to 18. Although the centre is called an air cadet training centre, it encompasses training for navy and army cadets.

Each cadet is registered to a program, similar to how a child would register for summer camp. There are limited spaces at the centre, so those who come enjoy their experience.

The air rifle marksmanship instructor course (ARMIC) is one of courses available, but not to every cadet.

Cadets must take part in marksmanship courses in their home squadron, apply, and be selected from a national pool of cadets eager to take part in the program.

“Of the hundreds of cadets that apply, what’s getting looked at is attendance; do they actually do marksmanship in home squadron or core – it’s a big process. To get on a course like this, a six-week course is actually quite a privilege for them. They’re competing against everybody across Canada,” said Cpt. Angela Blakely, the ARMIC squad commander for this summer.

In the ARMIC course, cadets learn how to coach marksmanship, what proper shooting positions are and how to adopt them, how to score targets and maintain rifles. They also train for a biathlon and for officiating future biathlons.

“After the summer, they pretty much become the expert. When the cadets return to their squadrons, and they have a biathlon day or marksmanship day, we use those kids back home to help teach all the classes.

“This course is kind of interesting too because it’s a tri-element course. Not only do we have air cadets, we have army cadets and sea cadets all coming together for one summer and learning how to be a marksmanship instructor,” said Lieut. Stephanie Maldonado, an ARMIC training officer.

For cadets to officiate biathlons is a huge honour.

Not many cadets receive the opportunity to do so, and Cpt. Blakeley said that officiating a biathlon is a huge accomplishment for those in the ARMIC program.

The music portion of cadet training is lesser known but still important.

Mostly, the musicians get to shine during parades and celebrations. They spend time in one-on-one lessons, full band practices and smaller group practices with similar instruments.

In the general training wing, there is a program called adventure training, which builds a cadet’s outdoor skills. They are outdoors for a day and night, and in that time will learn skills such as building fires, making shelters, knot tying, basic survival skills regarding animals and bugs and what is safe for consumption. They will also learn how to find water.

Cadets go through much intense training but also learn important life skills such as respect, camaraderie, discipline and understanding how governments work. Many of the children are seen smiling between drills, laughing with their friends or helping someone else with a task.

“You watch some of these kids – some of them have never slept outside overnight or anything before, and they’re out there by themselves, with a friend inside a tent that they construct,” said Cpt. Philip McKerry, officer in charge (OIC) of adventure training. “It’s pushing some of their comfort levels a little bit, and it’s a good way for them to learn this stuff. It’s in a controlled environment and they don’t have to worry about anything,”

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Red Deer’s newest outdoor ice facility opens to the public this week

The speed skating oval at Setters Place at Great Chief Park will be open Dec. 17th

Yellow Vests protestors take to Red Deer streets

Trudeau government’s immigration and oil industry policies denounced at rally

Rebels lose to Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-1

Tigers break Rebels’ three-game winning streak

Exhibition explores the rich history and culture of Métis people

The exhibition is on display from Dec. 15th to March 10th at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery

2019 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship host sites announced

A total of 39 Provincial Championships will be hosted across the province

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

‘I practically begged’: B.C. woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Most Read