The Canora squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets are well into their activities for a new year, but it was during the Poppy Campaign that they gained the most public exposure, said Darren Paul, a training officer.
The cadets were very visible in the week before Remembrance Day, selling many of the poppies that were worn around Canora, he said.
The Canora cadets normally work hand in hand with the Canora branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, especially around Remembrance Day, but it was nice for the national Legion organization to publicly thank the cadets across the country.
The Royal Canadian Legion, responsible for the National Poppy Campaign since its formation in 1926, readily acknowledges the commitment and dedication of the 12 to 18 year olds in the various cadet programs by marching in parades, taking active roles in Remembrance ceremonies across Canada and in keeping the poppy visible, said the release from the Legion.
"These young men and women play a vital role in our campaign," said Tom Eagles, Dominion president of The Royal Canadian Legion. "They are eager to help in our National Poppy Campaign and foster the tradition of Remembrance by wearing a Poppy. Their enthusiasm is contagious."
Campaigns as large and extensive as the Legion's annual campaign need plenty of volunteers explained Eagles. "The areas we cover are just too vast, especially in those cities where growth has been substantial. The cadets appreciate our assistance in their operations and are eager to help as a result."
The Royal Canadian Legion is a major sponsor and supporter of cadet corps, units and squadrons from coast to coast. The organization also sponsors the Cadet Medal of Excellence awarded to deserving cadets.
"We are committed to the development of Canada's youth as good citizens and our future leaders," said Eagles. "Supporting our cadets is one of the many ways the Legion achieves this goal. They help us achieve our objectives with their help. It's a win/win situation for all of us."
Money raised by the Poppy Campaign goes to assist veterans of the three forces (Air, Arm and Sea) but also the RCMP, said Ian White, president of the Canora Legion branch.
The cadet program is a great experience for youth aged 12-19, said Paul. The air cadet program offers many activities and training and its all absolutely free.
“We do regular training that teaches discipline and leadership as well physical fitness and air specific training such as propulsion and meteorology,” said Paul. “In later years, there is flying experience.”
Among the activities undertaken by cadets are: marksmanship with air rifle; biathlon with other squadrons; familiarization flying in the spring; and citizenship activities such as poppy drive and Remembrance Day services.
The Canora air cadets meet every Wednesday evening from 6:45 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Legion Dugout.
There is also a range night (marksmanship) on most Monday nights.
There is no requirement to join the armed forces, said Paul.