Cadets show off parade skills for guests and family
By S.L. Furedi
Family, friends and invited guests gathered to watch cadets from across the Elk Valley parade at their annual Ceremonial Review, June 1, in Sparwood.
Twenty-five air cadets from Elk Valley Air Cadets 279 Squadron were on hand, in full dress uniforms, for the formal event. All cadet units in Canada must host an ACR, and are graded on their performance in drill, deportment and dress. A representative from the Air Cadet League of Canada/B.C. Provincial Committee, Yvette Doratty, was also in attendance to score the squadron on its presentation.
Reviewing Officer Corey Kortmeyer, Elkford Fire Chief, said the squadron did a very good job and he was honoured to be part of it.
“I can see you must work very hard and it shows,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect tonight, but it’s been very encouraging to see young people having this type of commitment.”
Captain Sherri Shaw, 279 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, said she saw significant improvement in the new cadets over the last few weeks leading up to the event.
“We’ve had a lot of new faces in our squadron this year, and it’s a very rewarding challenge to train them for a formal event like this. It’s also so encouraging to see our squadron grow the way it has in the last couple of years.”
Karen Mills, vice-chair of the 279 Squadron Sponsoring Committee, said putting on an ACR is a lot of work, not only for the cadets and officers, but also for the volunteers.
“The sponsoring committee has a lot of behind-the-scenes planning to do for ACR. Seeing the cadets do well, though, and seeing how far they’ve come, makes it worthwhile.”
Mills says there are no programs like this offered for teens, and the skills and friendships they make during their time in cadets last a lifetime.
Cpl. Tehya O’Sullivan took advantage of an open mike period following the formal portion of the evening to tell the squadron what being part of it means to her.
“I’m not a Canadian citizen,” she said. “I’m from England, and when I came here I had the accent and being different was hard. But being part of the cadets helped me develop my Canadian identity.”
F/Sgt. Braydon Furedi also spoke and said that within the program they develop almost into a family, and that makes the program valuable to him.
Along with the drill and exhibits, the night includes the annual presentation of awards to cadets who have earned those honours.
279 Squadron awards were presented to: Best First Year Cadet to AC Kaleb Barnum; Best Junior Cadet Award was presented to Cpl. Kelton Kinch; Most Improved Cadet Award was given to Cpl. Declin Shaw; Sgt. Jacob Mayne received the Training Officer’s Award for Outstanding Dedication and Commitment; Best Senior Cadet was awarded to F/Sgt. Grant Mills; and the CO’s Award for Dress and Deportment was presented to Cpl. Kaitlyn Hamilton.
Former Commanding Officer Captain Murray Clow was also presented with a Canada Decoration – Canadian Armed Forces Long Service Medal which is awarded to officers of the Cadet Instructors Cadre (CIC) for 12 years of service.
The cadets are will finish up their formal training year with a potluck next week, says Shaw, but have a few more public services duties yet, including the Coal Miner Days and Elkford Wildcat Days parades, and volunteering at Canada Days. After that, a number of the cadets have received camp placements across Canada for the summer, and will be gone two to six weeks, depending on their camps, which include band, survival, range, physical fitness and drill.
For more information about the cadet program, contact Captain Sherri Shaw at (250) 423-6224. The training year begins in September, but teens ages 12-18 may join at any point during the training year.
Lead image: The 279 Elk Valley Air Cadets Squadron salutes during ‘God Save the Queen’. (Photos by S.L. Furedi)