22 Red Knight Air Cadet Squadron will celebrate 81 years of continuous operation later this fall, and with last month’s return to in-person training, the Squadron is ready to help qathet region’s young people achieve their full potential.
“As an Air Cadet Squadron, we have a focus on aviation, but we’re not solely about aviation,” says Captain Kate Boyd, an officer with the Squadron. “There are any number of different paths youth can explore, like leadership, effective speaking, marksmanship, biathlon, music, or achieving their glider or private pilot’s licence, for example.”
In addition to a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and aviation subjects, Air Cadets do a variety of outdoor activities to promote fitness and leadership, and cadet training courses are eligible for up to four credits in grades 10, 11 and 12. Recently, to support optional programming, the squadron purchased a 3D printer, and cadets have been creating files, including one cadet who designed and printed a model eyeball for his science fair project.
“We have some cadets interested in rocketry, so we’re doing a rocket program in the spring,” says Captain Ken Boyd, the Squadron’s Training Officer. “We have two virtual-reality flight simulators as well, and we have a wide variety of activities on the weekends.
“The goal of the cadet program is for cadets to lead cadets. They are involved in planning, preparing and instructing in both our optional and regular programming, and this opens doors not only for those with the interest, but also for those who might not have known anything about that topic before.”
Cadets join for a variety of reasons, from an interest in aviation or the Canadian Armed Forces, to wanting to gain leadership and public speaking skills.
“I joined the Air Cadets because I wanted to learn more about aviation, and Air Cadets was the only place in town that supported that interest for young people,” says Flight Sergeant Kaleb Parsons, the Squadron Commander. “I am glad I did, because I have gotten so much more out of the program. For me, aviation was the lure, but I am so grateful for everything else I have learned.”
Air Cadets is open to youth between the ages of 12 and 19, and is free to join. Cadets receive two uniforms, and most operational costs are covered by the squadron, which meets for regular training Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 pm at its facility near Timberlane Park. Optional programs take place on Mondays from 7 to 9 pm, and the marksmanship and biathlon programs run on the weekends.
“We’re the oldest chartered Squadron in BC, being formed on October 25, 1941, and we’ve been the top-ranked Squadron in the province many times over the years,” says Captain Ken Boyd. “We’re looking forward to seeing what accomplishments qathet region cadets will achieve in the future. That’s part of the adventure.”
For more information about Air Cadets, email firstname.lastname@example.org, go to 22aircadets.com or call 604.483.6400.