About Air Cadets
Royal Canadian Air Cadets participate in a variety of fun and challenging activities. There is something for everyone – no matter what their personal interests may be. The outdoor enthusiast will appreciate learning survival skills for flight crew. The athlete will appreciate physical education and recreation, including a variety of sporting activities like biathlon and Olympic-style marksmanship. The artists will find their niche in the music program. The curious will appreciate the hands-on activities such as building model aircraft. The scholarly will appreciate an introduction to the various tools and technologies linked to aviation. The dreamers will appreciate the evolution of technology and the advancements of the aerospace era, including the importance of Canadian participation.
Most importantly, Air Cadets aids in developing knowledge of Canadian history and democracy. The cadet program focuses on social development, decision-making and leadership. As cadets acquire skills and knowledge, they pass it along to younger cadets.
Every cadet will have the chance to participate in flight activities, and some top senior cadets may even earn a scholarship to obtain their private pilot’s licence. Whether earning a glider pilot licence or private pilot licence, these cadets wear their wings with a pride rarely found in today’s youth.
Chris Hadfield and Marc Garneau were Air Cadets
Successful Air Cadets have graduated and moved on to take leadership roles in many fields of business and across society. Did you know that Chris Hadfield, heading up the space station, started as an Air Cadet? So, did Marc Garneau, first Canadian in outer space, and Maryse Carmichael, past Commanding Officer of the Snowbirds and the first woman in this role. The list of successful Canadians who began as Air Cadets is long and continues to fill up each year, from Canadian country singer George Canyon to former Prime Minister Joe Clark. Nearly all of them attribute much of their personal values and skills to their involvement as a young person in the Air Cadet program.
So are more than 8,000 youth!
Today, in Ontario, there are more than 8,000 girls and boys involved in all levels of Air Cadets. Some are in year 1 and learning basics of flight, joining their first band or participating in a marksmanship competition. Others are in their final year and leading other Cadets as a Warrant Officer, can fly their own plane, and are being interviewed to participate in an International Exchange program in Australia.
Our Air Cadets appreciate many of the experiences and skills they have been able to gain during their career. Especially true is the broad exposure to new challenges that each Cadet gets to face and experience, both as a member of a Squadron and as an individual Cadet. Learning new skills, becoming a leader of others, helping their community and gaining invaluable skills and discipline are some of the hallmark results that excite our Cadets and attract new youth every year.
We are not the military.
Air Cadets are not part of the Canadian Forces. While a close and unique relationship exists with our veterans and the men and women who currently serve our country, Air Cadets is a civilian youth program that provides young people with many skills and experiences. There is no expectation to join the military…that’s a personal, voluntary decision that each Canadian citizen makes, and some Air Cadets also make.
Finally, no better words were spoken about the Cadet movement than those from General Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defense for the Canadian Forces, who’s children also participated in the program:
“In Canada, the Army, Navy and Air Cadet Leagues of Canada are probably our best Canadian programs for producing responsible Canadian citizens. The cadet program emphasizes leadership. It teaches and puts into practice the same principles that major corporate, military and international leaders learn at Harvard University, in graduate programs across our own country, in military schools or even from the school of hard knocks. If you are young, get involved. Volunteer and get out front to organize, contribute and get things done. If possible, join the Cadets.”
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The thrill of gliding and flying provides the backbone of the Air Cadet program. Each year nearly 600 deserving Air Cadets receive flying and gliding scholarships across Canada. The remainder learn valuable life skills and important values like mutual respect, integrity and professionalism through lessons in navigation, theories of flight and aircrew survival.
Over 9000 Air Cadets take part in summer training each summer. Some of the courses offered:
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