The Kamsack 633 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron has been in existence since 1957.
The number of youth whom have been associated with, and positively impacted by the organization must easily number in the thousands, and the squadron is still going strong in Kamsack this year, with a total of 23 cadets over five levels.
There is one issue that the squadron would like to communicate to the community, and that is volunteers are needed to help with the squadron.
For the past four years, only two women have been filling the four roles required to keep the squadron functioning.
Karen Bodnaryk, who has been associated with the air cadet movement in Kamsack for around 35 years, is the CI (Civilian Instructor) and she looks after administration and training.
Lt. Karen Tourangeau is the CO (Commanding Officer) and supply officer of the squadron.
“We are beginning to feel the strain of being responsible for the cadets without some additional manpower,” Bodnaryk said recently. “Our largest challenge arises from the fact that our squadron does not have a male instructor, so when the cadets go on overnight trips, we have to scramble to recruit at least one male volunteer from another community.”
Every week on Wednesdays, the air cadets meet at the Kamsack Comprehensive Institute (KCI) at 6:15 p.m. The squadron has space for three volunteer positions, four would be most appreciated, the women said. Some of these positions may become a paid position.
This year, the group has only one senior cadet who has taken instructor training, and is able to assist with the five different levels in the squadron.
“Our Kamsack squadron is all about community service; we are turning out a good citizen, one cadet at a time,” Bodnaryk continued. “The air cadets will pitch in and help with all sorts of community activities. They help to clean up at the Legion, theatre and cemetery. Last year the group participated in the No Stone Left Alone campaign where they honoured the sacrifice and service of Canada’s military by placing poppies on the headstones of veterans at the Riverview Cemetery, which prompted many people to say “thank you” to the cadets for this initiative.
“They have participated in bottle drives to raise funds for trips, sold raffle tickets, help with Legion Bingos, as well as host the annual spaghetti supper fundraiser. With participation in each of these activities, and so many more, the cadets learn teambuilding, leadership and self-confidence, plus they make lifelong friends through their connections with other squadrons. Watching a shy cadet blossom into confident community member is a very rewarding experience for the volunteer instructors.
“To be a volunteer instructor with the cadets requires a lot of patience, but the reward is the immense gratification one feels while watching these youngsters learn and grow as citizens of the community. To witness their personal growth and appreciation of what the cadet program has to offer, is unequalled.
“This community has always been very supportive of the air cadets, and that is why it squadron is still around in its 63rd year. But we need some volunteers to step up to assume some training roles.”
The time commitment is around six hours per week (with the exception of summers), and an odd weekend, and the benefits are as follows: the reward of working with youth as they gain skills and confidence; going on out-of-town trips with the squadron which fosters a sense of adventure and challenge; training for volunteers is all free, and the organization will pay volunteers to take training courses. Individuals have made lifelong friends while working with air cadets, and the scheduling is negotiable and flexible.
Capt. Don Thomson of Yorkton is the Zone Training Officer of the Kamsack squadron, and the person to whom it reports. He takes the reports and shares them with Winnipeg, which is the air cadet head office.
Thomson is responsible for a number of squadrons, and he is very impressed that “the two Karens” have managed to keep up with all the requirements of running the Kamsack cadet troupe.”
In order to continue its training and activities, the Kamsack air cadets need to fill these vacancies. To find out more about the available roles one may contact Karen Bodnaryk at 306-542-4104 or Karen Tourangeau at 306-542-9332.